4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
The Old Rag Loop is one of the most coveted hikes in Shenandoah National Park.
No matter who you ask, this epic ~9-mile loop is one of the top hikes and a *must-do* if you have the time.
A key highlight is the rock scramble near the summit - a challenging feat rewarded with incredible views from an exposed rock outcropping. The National Park considers this of the most popular, yet most dangerous hikes around.
"A day on Old Rag is one of Shenandoah's premier experiences," they even proclaim! Though many have completed the loop in less, set aside at least 7 hours to be safe.
Weekdays are also recommended over weekends, as the parking lot can quickly fill during peak season. In contrast to most hikes in Shenandoah National Park, this loop *does not* begin on Skyline Drive.
You could incorporate it into a longer hike from the scenic roadway, but it's best when hiked from the Lower Old Rag Parking Area.
A parking fee is also **required** for this hike.
Per the NPS, "Visitors hiking Old Rag must have a valid Shenandoah National Park entrance permit.
You can purchase permits and yearly passes from Rangers when present, or via self-pay at the Old Rag Fee Station." Please note that this is one of the more dangerous hikes in Shenandoah National Park.
The NPS highlights that numerous search and rescue missions occur each year, and wants "to be sure that your experience is not marred by an accident or health issue that could be prevented with good planning." **Pets are not allowed on Old Rag.** A detailed guide to hiking Old Rag Mountain can be found [here](https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/old-rag-hike-prep.htm).