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Let's Hike Old Rag

  • 06/17/2017
  • 9:30 AM
  • Blue Ridge Mountains - Shenandoah National Park
  • 27


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Let's Hike Old Rag

June 17, meet at Old Rag parking lot at 9:30 a.m.

Rating: Difficult--This is a fun but demanding hike
Distance: 9 miles

Hike leaders: Wendy Talarico and Chris Klocek

Old Rag is considered the best hike in Shenandoah National Park. It is a pretty hard climb and, when you make it about 3/4 of the way up, there is some rock scrambling. There are a lot of switchbacks, so you will not be going straight up, but the trails are still at a steep grade. The descent, which is a longer distance than the ascent, is a much more gradual grade.
There are several ways to hike Old Rag, but the most popular is a circuit that takes you up the Ridge Trail, across the rock scramble to the summit, than down the Saddle Trail to the Weakley Hollow Fire Road and back to where you began. This is the route we'll follow.

The first 2 miles will be an increasingly steeper climb along a beautiful wooded trail. About 2 miles into the hike you will come out of the woods onto the ridgetop. Here's where the fun begins. For the next mile and a half you will climb, slide, shimmy, and crawl your way across and around giant granite boulders. From the summit, you can look across much of the nearly 200,000 protected acres of Shenandoah National Park, a portion of which is federally designated wilderness. Some hikers return via the rock scramble, but most prefer to continue on the Saddle Trail. As you travel down the Saddle Trail you will encounter two shelters, first Byrd's Nest, and then the Old Rag Shelter. Both are day-use only.

Here's a map of the trail:
More information here:

 Carpool--meet at Centreville Park and Ride, 8 a.m. Please post a message on Meetup to help find a driver.
Meeting spot: Old Rag Parking lot (port-a-pots there) at 9:30 a.m.
Cell service is limited, but you can type Old Rag into your map and directions to the parking area will come up. This parking lot is not in the park, but outside of it:
Address: SR600/Nethers Rd., Nethers, VA
GPS: 38.57036, -78.28705
From Sperryville - From Route 211, turn onto Route 522 and follow it south for 0.8 mile. Turn right on Route 231, follow 8 miles, turn right onto Route 601 and follow signs to the parking area, approximately 3 miles.
Here are GPS coordinates and a map of the hike:
This says parking is free but it's not. There's a $20 charge; free with a National Parks pass.

For more information, contact:

Wendy Talarico

Chris Klocek

Ski & Sports Club of Washington DC
5309 Langston Blvd, Arlington, VA 22207    MAP
Office Hours: M & F, 10 AM - 2 PM,  Tues - Thur 9 AM - 1 PM

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