How Long Does The Old Rag Hike Take? (Answered)

How Long Does the Old Rag Hike Take

For every hiker, the old rag mountain hike is a bucket list destination in the Shenandoah national park. This hike is known to have beautiful trails to the summit of the old rag.

However, the top offers an exhilarating 360° view experience of Shenandoah park and its beautiful surroundings.

So getting to the old rag top is the hiking goal. How long does it take to hike to the summit of the old rag through its trails?

Hiking the old rag will take about five to seven hours to cover its 9.5 miles distance. However, there’s an alternative route with less challenging trails via Berry Hollows road, which is faster to reach the summit. Nevertheless, the old rag is a strenuous hike that requires proper planning.

In this article, I will explain more about how long it takes to hike old rag Mountain. And how challenging the hike will be.

Also, you will know the perfect time to start your hike and what you need to pay to hike the Mountain.

How Long Does It Take to Hike the Old Rag?

How Long Does the Old Rag Hike Take

Hiking the old rag through the popular old rag loop, which is 9.4 miles, takes up to seven hours. While hiking via Berry hollow road will take less time as there are few obstacles. 

Hiking to the summit gets tough and challenging for an average person.

However, hiking the summit is still possible, but it will require more technicalities as a hiker.

Although if you wish to hike on less rocky and challenging trails, taking the berry hollows route is best. People who aren’t able to tackle the rock scramble take this route.

Hiking through the 9-mile loop with all the tough rock climbing is not a route most hikers want to take. But as a hiker seeking experience and adventure, take the ridge Weakley hollow route.

So the Berry hollow route is an alternative, but a significant setback is a crowd you will find there. 

Hiking for hours up the old rag summit is always interesting. And the switchback trails make the journey easy to go. So while coming back can be exhausting, it’s easy and reliable.

However, going up the old rag requires you to hike approximately a 10-mile stressed loop. Notwithstanding the trails, the summit is a reachable point.

The ridge trail is a popular trail to get up there. And there’s a junction that presents the Berry Hollow fire and Weakley Hollow fire road.

Hiking through the ridge trail in the first two miles is usually a steady uphill hike. And the higher you go with the switchbacks, the more the views and hiking get interesting.

The hike starts with following the trail road to the trailhead, approximately one mile. Further, you will pass through the Weakley Hollow fire road as part of the loop.

After going for about two miles, the uphill ridge trail marks your first viewpoint. 

However, the first viewpoint is the start of a challenging journey as it gets rockier towards the second viewpoint.

Getting past the first viewpoint to the second is where the rock scrambling and crawling comes to play. Also, getting to the peak, you might come across rock climbers.

After another mile, you will reach the summit, where you get the fantastic 360° view of the Mountain.

Getting down the summit is through the staircases at the Southwestern side of the Mountain. 

Lastly, you can reach the summit in less than seven hours if you are lucky to visit when the crowd is few.

What Time Should I Start Hiking Old Rag?

The best time to start hiking should be early in the morning, around 7 am, to start the hike early.

Since the hike will take about 7 hours to complete, you have to start early to hike during daylight.

Also, to enjoy your hiking, you should visit when the crowd is lesser, mostly during weekdays. And the dry season is the preferable period to hike when the rocks are not wet or slippery.

If you are coming to the Park in your car, consider coming earlier to get a space. Equally important, you need a valid Shenandoah Park ticket to park your car.

How Difficult Is the Old Rag Hike?

According to the hiking difficulty rating, the old Rag hike is at a level known as strenuous. Strenuous hikes are usually steeper and longer, which the old rag is an example of.

You can also tell how challenging the hike can be with the strenuous and rocky trail

 For more understanding of the difficulty rating, the table below explains more.

Difficult RatingMilesPace(miles per hour)
Moderately strenuous5-81.3
Very strenuousAbove eight1

When the hike millage is within 7-10, they are usually strenuous because they stretch upwards with challenging trails. Old rag is one of the most strenuous hikes in Virginia and the world.

During the summit, the hike requires more than walking in certain areas. It gets tricky here as you rock scramble.

At some point, it would require using other parts, such as the knees and hands.

Aside from your hiking knowledge, experience and some skills are key here. You will be climbing rock boulders and crawling under rocks.

And this aspect depends on how you control your body. Old rag is not an excellent hiking location for everyone because it requires a lot of rock scrambling. 

And any wrong plan or decision during hiking here can lead to injuries.

Getting help when hurt while hiking the Mountain isn’t always speedy. It takes at least two hours to rescue an injured person.

And rescue isn’t as easy as other medical evacuations, you know.

Although there are park rangers who will also come to your rescue, it will also take time, depending on the distance. 

So, you should be ready and prepared before you hike the old rag. 

However, to hike in an old rag, you should consider a few things for safety. 

  •  Have your first aid kits with you in case of emergencies. And have your packing as light as possible, with all the essential items like water.
  • Stay on the trail at all times.
  • Make sure you have no health complications, are medically and physically fit, and are ready for the hike.
  • Avoid hiking during wet periods, as the rocks will become more challenging and dangerous.
  • Have your proper hiking boots and other materials supporting rock scrambling.

Equally important, you should hike with someone as they will be helpful in some areas. There are times you are going to need a helping hand while climbing.

Nevertheless, the challenge makes it an excellent hiking destination and one of the top best hikes in the world. Old rag hike is for physically fit persons with no medical condition(s).

Does It Cost Money to Hike Old Rag?

Yes, it will cost you money to hike the old rag. You will have to purchase a day-use ticket to hike the area. However, the price is low and affordable for anybody at just $1.00.

You can purchase the day-use ticket online in any quantity by selecting a date. You can also call 877-444-6777 for a ticket purchase.

You should buy these tickets before your visit to avoid disappointment, as they won’t be available at the entrance. 

Also, aside from the old rag day-use ticket, there are other tickets you need to purchase in the Park. For example, you need a Shenandoah park permit to park your car in the area.

The day-use ticket will automatically grant you access to any trails you wish to go on. And the ticket lasts only a day, for any activity you want to do in the Park.


Where Do I Park My Vehicle for an Old Rag Hike?

You can park your vehicle at the old rag mountain parking lots on the nether roads.

When Is Shenandoah Park Open?

The Park is always open 24/7, but some activities may not open due to the weather conditions.

Josh Matthews

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