Old Rag Mountain (Sunrise Hike)
TRAIL DISTANCE - 8 miles
TYPE - Day Hike
It was almost two years ago to the day that we first hiked Old Rag. It was time to do it again, so we spent another Columbus Day at Old Rag. We weren't going to attempt to sleep in the car like last time, but we still wanted an early start to avoid the crowds, so we stayed in a hotel in Front Royal, VA. This is about a one hour drive to the Old Rag trailhead.
We got up at 3:00 am, grabbed some fruit and coffee from the breakfast bar, and started the drive to the trailhead. We wanted to enjoy the sunrise on Old Rag, so we wanted to get an extremely early start. The upper lot is officially closed now, so we had to park in the lower lot, which adds just over a mile of hiking (actually road humping). We arrived at the trailhead, grabbed our gear and headlamps and got going.
We decided to use our bigger "car camping"
headlamps since the majority of the hike would be in darkness. We are
pretty experienced at night hiking, but it does slow you down some. We
barely made it in time to catch the sunrise.
There were 5 or 6 other hikers up there already enjoying the view. I will
never get tired of seeing this view. The hard work is definitely worth
We love the rock scrambling so much, that we decided to hike back down the way we came. We were hoping that it was still early enough to avoid the majority of the crowds, along with any potential bottlenecks. We were right .we only had to stop the scrambling once to let another hiker make a climb. By the time we were done with the scrambling, the crowds were really starting to form.
A lot of the hikers asked us if we were
up there during the sunrise. Our huge smiles told them the answer. By
the time we finally arrived back to the lower parking lot, it was literally
full. A vehicle arriving waited for us to leave so they could take our
spot. Yea, Old Rag gets REAL busy. If you're gonna go, go early!!!! And
I recommend you go. It's awesome! Just please be prepared and hike safe.