Old Rag

Old Rag is extremely popular among D.C. area hikers – new and experienced! The popularity of this hike is well-earned not just because of the nearly mile long boulders that require jumping, crawling and even climbing, but also because of the many beautiful views the hike offers.

The crew ready to take on Old Rag!

I’ve hiked this mountain many times over the years in all seasons and I’d say fall is the best time to take in the vast beauty all around this trail. Old Rag is a 9.1 mile loop hike (you can make it a 10.4 in and out hike if you want to skip the boulders). To hike the loop, I’d recommend starting on the Ridge Trail, which gradually climbs over three miles. Next is the rock scramble across various boulders and the first set of amazing views begin shortly after. Hop across the last set of boulders before arriving at the summit of Old Rag. The breathtaking views all around is truly the reward for the hard work of getting here. Hikers following the loop take the Ridge Trail to the Saddle Trail and then the Weakly Hollow Fire Road back to the parking lot.

Boulder, boulders, and more boulders!

I decided to hike Old Rag on Saturday with some friends because it was a beautiful day with temperatures in the high 50’s. By the time we made it to the summit, however, the winds were gusting and it was much cooler than we anticipated. So, we cut our time short at the top and stopped to eat lunch at Byrd’s Nest Shelter. It’s a day use area with a picnic table. There are no bathrooms at this shelter. If you’re interested in additional rock scrambling, Balance Rock near the Byrd’s Nest Shelter is a short side trip.

Is Old Rag on your list? If you’re new (or experienced) hiker and have questions about the hike, feel free to send me a note!

4 thoughts on “Old Rag

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  1. Nice to connect with you again. I love Old Rag. Probably climbed it at least half a dozen times. Love the boulders the best. My grandson has run up and down it several times. My parents ashes have been sprinkled there. I look forward to following your summer adventures (or should I say misadventures?).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura, it’s so great to hear from you! Old Rag has become sort of an annual tradition for me. It’s such a fun hike with so much stuff to do. Thanks for supporting the blog! I’m hoping to keep the misadventures down but my adventures are never without a few epic ones. 🙂 Hugs.


  2. Glad you sent me a notice that you were blogging again. Love to hear of your adventures. I followed your AT blog and got friends and a family member to also read your blog then. You have done so much hiking since I saw you in White Oak. My husband and i have moved to North Bend, WA so if you ever want to hike Rattlesnake Mt. where we live or Mt. Si, etc. let us know. We have an extra bedroom!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ellen! So good to hear from you. When I was on the AT, I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed blogging. I’m excited to be returning to it and to connect with old friends! Wow – Washington! I’d love to hear about what took you there. We’re still figuring out our route but will definitely let you know if we come by so we can at least grab a cup of coffee. Hope all is well with you!


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