Day Hike Old Rag

10:56 a.m. on April 3, 2010 (EDT)
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Old Rag is in Shenandoah National Park, near Sperryville, Virginia. It is just short of 3,300 feet, with about 2,500 feet of vertical gain to the summit. It is roughly eight and a half miles of walking and scrambling.

Yesterday was a gorgeous day for a hike, temperatures starting in the high 60's, rising to the low 80's with plenty of sun. Three adults, four kids on the hike. We took our time, stopping here and there to take in the views or snack by a creek running next to the trail. The most interesting feature of Old Rag is the boulder-covered upper section, which requires a significant amount of climbing up and down with your hands. The kids really loved this part - a little hairy and scary at points, but it's like a colossal natural jungle gym, and there is a real sense of having accomplished something. Because the trail through the boulders is so narrow at points, the trail tends to bottleneck when there are a lot of people out for a walk. Views are spectacular due to all the exposed rock. We ate lunch just short of the summit and ended up on top around 2 pm. The downhill part of the loop is a wider trail, with the last portion an old dirt fire road. Just short of the fire road, the park service maintains a composting outhouse - another great thing for kids. We stopped by a stream next to the fire road to cool off - the water this time of year still has that electric cold quality.

we spent about eight hours out yesterday, though one could probably do the hike in five and a half hours moving with more pace and more limited stops.

June 17, 2018
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