Shenandoah National Park Revisited - Day 2 - Old Rag Mountain

Old Rag Mountain - Shenandoah Natl. Park - VA Travel Blog

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Fresh spring green

The vast majority of Shenandoah's beautiful hikes are accessible from the Skyline Drive. The majority of these hikes have a huge disadvantage: the Grand Canyon Effect! Like hiking the Grand Canyon: you start at the highest point, easily descend, do not feel tired until you have tor return to your car and discover that going uphill is MUCH heavier then going down.

So, I tried to find some hikes that started at lower elevation and went up. And boy did I find one! The hike on Old Rag Mountain. According to the National Park Service it is a very Challenging one, they even put a warning video on their website see here!

Old Rag Mountain is a 1001-meter (3284-ft) high mountain at the east of the Shenandoah Ridge.

The Rock Scramble
The lower part is just as beautiful and green as the other mountains in Shenandoah. Its peak area, however, with lots of bare rocks, small crevices and steep abysses, differs! When one wants to approach the summit from a lower altitude one has to negotiate this 4.8-km (3-mile) long Rock Scramble which will take you up 670 meters (2200 ft), the equivalent of a 220-story building!

 I left a bit too late, the trail head was a bit farther away than expected, and my TomTom considered it necessary to first send me into a maze of dirt roads the all ended in private terrain. So, I arrived too late. The free NPS parking had filled up completely and I was forced to park in the cow manure filled backyard of a local farm that shamelessly charged USD10 for this spot.

It was clearly a nice day and a national holiday, the ranger at the station told me he estimated more than a thousand persons were on the trail.

The Rock Scramble
And he was right. I have never hiked a hike that was so crowded. At some points it was almost hiking in a huge queue. My almost weekly hikes paid off, the other hikers that ran up like they had to catch the last train realized this was not the way to go and quit or switched to a lower "gear", I could keep the pace.

When I reached the Rock Scramble everything started all over again. Crowds of people, but at this point I was kinda happy with it. The Rock Scramble was indeed no joke. Perfectly doable, but for a solo hiker assuring that other hikers are around. At one point the trail was indeed a real challenge. One had to climb about 2 meters (6.5 feet) in a very narrow crevice with hardly anything to grab/hold on. The steep stone was frightening covered with blood. Volunteers of the local fire dept. were there and helped the hikers as good as they could.

Farm land, at the trail head parking
In my case they were so kind to grab my camera bag for me.

The views in the distance as well as nearby, were brilliant. The Rock landscape made it feel like a hike in Utah or Arizona. It took me about 3 hours for the 7.1 kilometers (4.4 miles) tot the top, and 2.5 hours for the 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) down via the less steep but longer, and rather boring back trail.

More pictures below! And see a photo show with highlights hereDeze fake-tekst heb ik toegevoegd om net iets meer regels te genereren zodat deze rare website toestaat dat de bijgesloten foto ook vertoond wordt. Deze fake-tekst heb ik toegevoegd om net iets meer regels te genereren zodat deze rare website t

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Fresh spring green
Fresh spring green
The Rock Scramble
The Rock Scramble
The Rock Scramble
The Rock Scramble
Farm land, at the trail head parki…
Farm land, at the trail head park…
Not all trees in Shenandoah are gr…
Not all trees in Shenandoah are g…
Less than half an hour into the hi…
Less than half an hour into the h…
Just before the start of the Rock …
Just before the start of the Rock…
Just before the start of the Rock …
Just before the start of the Rock…
Lunching, just before the start of…
Lunching, just before the start o…
Lunch with a view
Lunch with a view
The Rock Scramble
The Rock Scramble
The Rock Scramble
The Rock Scramble
The Rock Scramble
The Rock Scramble
The Rock Scramble
The Rock Scramble
The Rock Scramble
The Rock Scramble
The Rock Scramble, note the rocks …
The Rock Scramble, note the rocks…
While descending less rocks and mo…
While descending less rocks and m…
While descending less rocks and mo…
While descending less rocks and m…
More spring green
More spring green
The summit of Old Rag Mountain see…
The summit of Old Rag Mountain se…
Some nice brooks during the descent
Some nice brooks during the descent
Farm land, at the trail head parki…
Farm land, at the trail head park…
GPS Height Profile for the Old Rag…
GPS Height Profile for the Old Ra…
GPS  Profile for the Old Rag Hike …
GPS Profile for the Old Rag Hike…
Old Rag Mountain - Shenandoah Natl. Park - VA
photo by: mdalamers