Old Rag Mountain || Shenandoah National Park

My son wanted to spend his birthday hiking Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park. I guess he wanted to hike Old Rag because he did that hike as a Scout a few years back. Old Rag is one if not the most popular hikes in the park.

The weatherman was calling for some rain and that would make the hike dangerous. The top of Old Rag is a rock scramble and wet boulders and scrambling do not mix well. We were later departing for our drive up than we had planned and by the time we got to the mountain, it was a bright and beautiful day. I called the weatherman's bluff! We started our hike from the lower parking lot to the upper lot which is about a mile up the road. Once we got to the trailhead it started to rain.

Yep, the weatherman got me... At this point, we can only move forward and complete the hike. For the next 45 mins, it rains on us. But by the time we get to the rock scramble, the sun is back out the wind is blowing and most of the boulders that are in the sun are dry.

Beautiful fall day after the rain.

But in the shallows, the rocks were still slick and it made for a hard day of scrambling. By the time we got to the peak, the wind was blowing in the mid-teens and it was getting a little cooler.

    Trail sign at the summit of Old Rag Mountain

 As we ate lunch at the summit, I looked over to the west back to Skyline Drive and could see that another band of clouds was coming our way. As we started off the mountain the wind started to pick up and the temperature started to drop. We were hiking at a quick pace for about 15 mins and I looked up and saw this gray wall of rain coming at us. Just up the trail, I could see Birds Nest #4 shelter which is closed other than an opening with a picnic table in it. I think by the time it is all said and done we had 10 hikers waiting out the weather in that small space.

It was a heavy downpour that lasted about 20 minutes. I am just glad we were able to get off the summit before the rain hit. Another lesson learned is that the weather can change you in a heartbeat in the Blue Ridge Mountains and you need to plan for it!


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