didn't get an early start like some people say is best to avoid crowds. but i think getting there mid to late afternoon is just as good. Got to the lower lot about 3pm and it was kinda full. passed a ton of people on the road up to the upper lot. and also spied an open spot in the upper lot.. shame on me for not driving up there first first half of the ascent passed alot more people that were coming down. I was a few miles from the lower lot when I realized I left my mp3 player in the car.. slight buzz kill. Didn't see anyone else going my way till I got the "rock scramble" and passed a few small groups who were ill-equipped in their shorts and converse shoes. so they were not fairing so well climbing the boulders and gaps. some seemed kinda slick maybe from wear and oils from peoples hands? I also realized I should get a collapsible trekking pole I can shove in my pack, instead of an old ski pole when navigating the rock scramble, because some gaps required both hands to help pull yourself up. I felt like i was making good time tho, and got to the summit in around 2 hours. according to the altimeter on my watch its 2400' vertical from the lower lot to the summit. I did the circuit hike returning via saddle trail and the fire road. its an extra 1.5 miles that way, but the fire road gets boring real quick. I think for an added challenge next time ill do a round-trip hike on the ridge trail/boulder scramble rather than just up it. If you have yet to hike the rag, the bouldering on the upper half of the ascent is what old rag is all about. the rest of the hike is fairly mainstream compared to any of the other SNP trails ive been on. we should plan a dcski outing there sometime!
didn't bring a camera, but snatched a few with the phone cam.
bluebird day at the rag! some pics of the stuff that makes old rag the best hike in the mid-atlantic
Good going Crunchy. Nice day for it. I'll bet visibility was great with that breeze. I've been up there at least 3 times over the years. Done the circuit and just up and back. I liked up and back, but the best thing is eating a bag lunch up there and viewing both the mtns to west and piedmont to east. Had the whole place to myself and my kids on a weekday once on the last day before they had to return to school in Sept. Like that overhanging rock in your 4th photo, got pictures of me and family holding it up like Atlas. Glad there wasn't an "Old Man of the Mtns" moment like what happened with that crumbling formation in NH a few years ago!
Nice Crunchy. I used to hike Old Rag every year. Getting there early is important, but even better is getting there early on a weekday! If you're in the lower lot by 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, you can expect to see maybe five or six people the whole day.
Another "get away from the crowds" approach I always took: remember that false summit about 100 yards to the northeast of Old Rag proper? Yeah, just go out there. You're all alone and in that respect it's much, much better than the summit itself. There's some great rock scrambles over on that pitch too.
Then there was the time I illegally did an off-trail ascent... saw my first black bear up close that way. But that one is best not repeated, the National Park has it's hands full tracking down morons like me.
I haven't hiked Old Rag in years. I've probably done that hike 4 or 5 times though. The last couple times to crowds were ridiculous. Waiting in long lines for the rock scrambles. The first time I hiked it was probably 1980. Camped up there too - don't think they allow you to do that anymore. Saw one other hiker - a guy camping in caves near the summit. We hauled 12 packs of beer up there in our old external frame canvas boy scout packs. Those were the days - when "going lite" meant Miller Lite.