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How Long Does It Take to Hike Old Rag?



A man standing on a cliff overlooking a valley.

Tucked away in Shenandoah National Park, Old Rag Mountain is one of the many natural gems in the United States. Offering hiking trails and saddle trails all that way to the top, the climb to the summit of Old Rag rewards hikers with stunning panoramic views and a challenging hike that will reaffirm everything you love about trekking in the backcountry.

It’s a surprising feature for its location in Robertson, Virginia, about a 2.5-hour drive from Washington DC. Visitors might expect the rock scrambling and granite boulders on the ridge trails and switchbacks of Old Rag to be found somewhere on the west coast like Yosemite, but that’s just one feature that makes it such a great hike. 

If you want to section-hike the Appalachian Trail or take a quick circuit hike around the grounds, then hiking Old Rag is a solid choice for a quick hike and has a parking area for easy access and exit. Hikers don’t have to climb to the top of Old Rag necessarily, as there are many other hiking trails in Shenandoah National Park ranging from the easy to the strenuous for all levels of hiking expertise.

It’s one of the most popular hikes in the parks for the stupendous 360-degree views from the summit and the challenging rock climbing required to navigate it through to the end. If you are looking to reach the summit, you’ll most likely be entering the park from the eastern side to reach the parking lot and trailhead of the Old Rag Mountain Loop. 


A man standing on a cliff overlooking a valley.

While it is a challenging hike, the trek to the summit of Old Rag is one of the most fulfilling hiking experiences you can find.

The rock scrambling in the last ¼ of the trail requires lots of upper body strength and is definitely going to affect your hiking time. There are tons of switchbacks that also add to the total hiking time since hikers won’t be taking the most direct route up the mountain. Hikers can also customize their trip on Old Rag with a side-trek to Byrd’s Nest Area for additional rock scrambling. In short, the hike to the summit of Old Rag can be tackled as a day hike, a multi-day overnight hike, and all things in between.

Hiking Old Rag can be a thrilling hiking experience or it can overwhelm hikers with the sheer amount of options it presents. The best way to prevent your Old Rag Mountain hike is to plan ahead, and that’s why we’ve prepared this comprehensive guide on all things Old Rag. There are offshoots and side-trails you can take to add new dimensions to your trek and there are some time-saving tips you should take into account if you’re trying to reach the top on a day hike. Read on to find out about the trails to the summit of Old Rag, some practical considerations, and some safety tips to make to most of hiking Old Rag Mountain. 


What to expect in Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah has over 500 miles of hiking trails through redwood forests that support populations of hundreds of different animal species. Part of the Blue Ridge Mountains comprise a section of the park; between them and the Shenandoah River and its valley, the national park sports a healthy variety of landscapes and natural features that are stunning from the summit of Old Rag. Hikers visiting Shenandoah National Park can expect to cut through lush forest hiking trails that scale and sink over some intense elevation gains. The highest point in the park, Hawksbill Mountain, rises up to 4,051 feet. 

Some advantages of hiking in Shenandoah National Park are the various parking areas and facilities, including a visitor’s center. There are over 75 hiking trails inside the park, so if you’re looking to get a feel for the whole thing and not just tackle a circuit hike or make the summit of Old Rag Mountain, then you’ll definitely want to leave yourself plenty of time. It can take a few hours just to drive through the park, so if you really want to get around the hiking trails you should probably go ahead and plan on a multi-day hiking trip with camping at night. 


Old Rag Mountain

So, what should you know about the mountain itself before you try to climb it? First of all, it isn’t the tallest peak in Shenandoah National Park but it is by far the more difficult of the two to scale and it is definitely the most popular hike in the park. The top of Old Rag reaches 3,284 feet and features bare rock rather than the more common tree-covered peaks in the rest of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

A geological event that happened about one billion years ago formed the granite of Old Rag, which you’ll see at the summit but also in rocky outcroppings and exposed sections along the many hiking trails. Greenstone, sandstone, limestone, and other minerals are also present in the mountain and the surrounding soil, so you can definitely expect a rocky hike. The rock climbing and scrambling on the way up makes for a challenging hike that’s left an impression on the roughly 100,000 people who attempt the hike each year. 


River between the mountains.

Hiking in Shenandoah National Park offers some of the best fall foliage views in the United States.


Hiking Old Rag in sections

There are some rough delineations along the hiking trail to the top of Old Rag that can help gauge your progress on the way up and help you make sure you bring the right equipment to help you tackle the trail in good time as well as in a safe manner.

Depending on the hiker and their personal view on the hiking trail’s characteristics, there are about seven segments to the circuit hike up to the summit of Old Rag and back down again. Luckily, you can start and finish your trek in the parking area on Nethers Road, which will allow you to concentrate your efforts on tackling Old Rag and not have any unrelated hiking involved unless you want it to be. 


The basic sections of Old Rag Mountain are these:


  • Nethers Road Parking Area to closed Old Rag upper parking area: This beginning section is about 0.8 miles and takes hikers from the initial parking area (if that’s where they’ve started their hike) to the beginning of the blue blazes, which is a name for the blue lines that designate the trail path and indicate certain conditions up ahead. For the first Nethers Road section, hikers should take care not to exert themselves too much, since that energy will be useful later on when the hiking trail becomes much more difficult. Keep a steady pace and drink plenty of water in this and all other sections on the hike to the top of Old Rag. 


  • Blue Blazes to the first overlook: The grade will increase once you veer left from the Old Rag upper parking area. Everything will get much rockier after this section, so watch where your feet are landing and make sure not to slip. The Blue Blazes should take on a double-line shape during this second section of the hiking trail, indicating the nine switchbacks hikers will trek their way around before moving on to the third section. All in all, this second section runs about 2.2. Miles and has an elevation gain that might catch you off guard if you try to climb it too quickly.


  • First overlook to the summit of Old Rag Mountain: Here’s the section of the hike where you’ll want to keep a close eye out for the Blue Blazes. There are tons of false routes and dead-end trails to mislead you and that elevation gain doesn’t give up at all in the third section of the uphill hike to the top of Old Rag. If you came to this hiking trail looking for some rock scrambling, then this third uphill section is where you’re going to find it. Geographical features such as a 12-foot deep crack in the rock and some narrow passages carved from the granite of the mountain shouldn’t be attempted by the inexperienced or the aloof. It’s a serious undertaking and it’s going to take some time. It’s best to take it slowly and enjoy the hike during this section. 


After clambering down the narrow rock passageway, the trek turns into a kind of ridge trail. The good news is that the views at this stage are fantastic, but hikers would do well to make sure not to get too close to the edge for obvious reasons. Keep moving past a false summit at this stage of the hiking trail to reach the true summit of Old Rag. Along the way you can take in breathtaking 360-degree views from a few different points. Once you reach the top of Old Rag, enjoy stunning panoramic views of the 200,000 acres of Shenandoah National Park.


Wooden stairs through a forest.

200-miles of the Appalachian Trail surround Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park.


Descending to Byrd’s Nest

The 0.4-mile descent to Byrd’s Nest is fairly simple to do. The only thing to look out for at this stage, beyond watching your step and treading carefully as you likely will have learned to do at this point anyway, is Byrd’s Nest. For some extra rock climbing and rock scrambling, Byrd’s Nest is a great addition to the rest of the Old Rag hiking trail.

You can find it at the intersection with the Saddle Trail on the way down from the summit. Once you reach Byrd’s Nest, you can find some granite stones to climb on and take a bearing for Balanced Rock, which will be visible after a bit of extra trekking. If you’re extending your Shenandoah National Park hiking trip into a multi-day overnight trip, there’s a campsite around this stage of the hiking trail to the top of Old Rag Mountain. 

Byrd’s Nest Shelter is also on this section of the hiking trail. Byrd’s Nest Shelter is a day-use only shelter that can be used as a rest stop or to take cover in case some kind of inclement weather has surprised you while you’re out in the backcountry. It’s worth a look whether you actually need it or not since it gives the impression of the kind of remote forest cabins constructed in this part of the United States before Shenandoah National Park was a protected area. 


Continue on the Saddle Trail

For a little under a mile and a half, the trail gently widens and becomes slightly easier. Hikers will pass the Old Rag Shelter on this section of the hike, which is much like Byrd’s Nest Shelter in terms of use and interest value. It isn’t as detailed in terms of its construction as Byrd’s Nest is, but it’s still a nice place to take a rest if you need to. 


Weakley Hollow Fire Road

This section of the hiking trail runs from the intersection of Berry Hollow Fire Road, Old Rag Fire Road, and Weakley Hollow Fire Road on back to the old upper parking area. It’s just under 2.5 miles long, during which time you’ll cross the Robertson Mountain Trail and the Corbin Hollow Trail. Consider this a kind of denouement of the Old Rag Mountain hike. It’s not that this section isn’t still a fun hike, but it won’t take the same toll as the more strenuous sections of the hiking trail to the summit of Old Rag. 


Return along Nethers Road

This section is going to look familiar if you haven’t replaced its memory with the stunning sights at the summit of Old Rag. It’s the same as the beginning, which should make sense since it’s a circuit hike. The 0.8 miles from the old Upper Parking Area along Nethers Road to the usable parking area is like a pre-emptive congratulations to hikers who have, for all intents and purposes, completed the hike by the time they reach this final section. 


Safety while hiking Old Rag Mountain

While this is the most popular hike in Shenandoah, that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest or even necessarily possible for novices and those who aren’t in a good enough shape to reach the summit of Old Rag Mountain on the circuit trail. Rock scrambling can sound like good, easy fun in web forums where experienced hikers and rock climbing enthusiasts are discussing it, but it’s not something everyone can just jump in to. Always try to hike with experienced hikers who can spot you if need be and show you how best to tackle difficult hikes like this one. 

One thing many hikers forget is drinking water. It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to underestimate how thirsty a really difficult climb is going to make you. Hikers should always make sure to bring at least 2 quarts of water per person in order to stay hydrated on the way to the summit of Old Rag and back down to the parking area. In addition, footwear is going to be really important on this particular hiking trail, since the exposed rock will be much slicker than many hikers might be used to, even if they’re familiar with hiking in Virginia.


So, how long does it take to hike Old Rag Mountain?

Now that you know how the trail looks, more or less, and how difficult it is to tackle, you should have some idea how long it will take. A safe estimate is about 7 hours for experienced hikers and perhaps 9 for those who are less familiar with this type of hike or who tend to take time for personal enjoyment and reflection when they’re out hiking in the backcountry.

Again, this can vary according to your own schedule, your speed, your size, your pack weight, and many other factors. If you’re unsure at all about timing, don’t cut it close. Always leave way more time than you need. If you do manage to finish this hiking trail earlier than expected, there’s plenty to do in the rest of Shenandoah National Park to stay entertained for the remainder of your time there. 


A man walking on a log in the forest.


Final Verdict:

Old Rag Mountain is the most popular hike in Shenandoah National Park and also the most challenging hike. The terrain at the summit of Old Rag and all the sections of the trail near that point are full of granite boulders and exposed rock that can be quite slick. There are also fantastic panoramic views of almost 200,000 acres of the surrounding redwood forests to reward hikers who can reach the top of Old Rag with enough time to take in the landscapes. 

Many factors can affect how long it will take different hikers to get to the summit of Old Rag and get back down to the parking area again. In general, it’s wise to overestimate how long it will take you to complete the trek. Leave early enough to finish the trail before nightfall.

This is one of the busiest trails and a favorite hike for many visitors to the Shenandoah National Park, so it’s likely to be best attempted early in the morning on a weekday. If you can keep a steady pace and bring enough water to drink, you can reach the top of Old Rag on a day hike. Or, if you prefer to stop and smell the roses, you can turn this hike into a multi-day overnight trip. Whatever way you decide to visit, the summit of Old Rag Mountain offers some stunning views however long you take to reach it.


Bonus tip: Watch this quick video to get a brief look at the hiking trails around Old Rag Mountain!


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Living Life on the Edge: Embracing Adrenaline-Fueled Moments



Life is an adventure, a journey filled with countless opportunities for thrill and excitement. For some, the idea of living life on the edge, embracing adrenaline-fueled moments, is an exhilarating concept that fuels their passion for adventure. This article delves into the world of adrenaline-chasing, highlighting the benefits and experiences of such a lifestyle.

Kitesurfing: Riding the waves of excitement

The first step to living on the edge is stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new. Kitesurfing, a water sport combining wakeboarding, windsurfing, and paragliding elements, is an excellent example of an adrenaline-fueled activity. The activity entails utilizing a sizable maneuverable kite to capture the force of the wind, enabling the rider to traverse the water on a board specifically designed for kiteboarding. There is nothing quite like the exhilaration of soaring through the air, feeling the breeze caress your cheeks, and mastering the art of maneuvering a kite. Kitesurfing is a remarkable adventure that captures the spirit of embracing excitement and pushing boundaries.

The psychological thrill

In addition to the excitement of the tangible experience, embracing a daring lifestyle offers a mental rush that is just as stimulating. Engaging in these activities provides an exhilarating experience that stimulates the production of endorphins, the body’s innate pain relievers. This results in a profound sense of joy and an overwhelming feeling of invulnerability. The thrill of this frenzy can become habit-forming, compelling thrill-seekers to pursue fresh and increasingly demanding adventures consistently. 

The benefits of embracing the edge

Embracing a daring lifestyle goes beyond pursuing excitement; it presents many advantages. Participating in thrilling adventures can enhance physical well-being, as numerous pursuits demand robustness, stamina, and skill. Furthermore, they have the potential to enhance one’s emotional well-being by offering a means to alleviate tension and unease. Engaging in these activities demands concentration, which can effectively alleviate mental clutter, resulting in a serene state once the surge of excitement diminishes.

The balance of risk and reward

While living life on the edge can be exhilarating, it’s important to remember the balance of risk and reward. Adrenaline-fueled activities often involve a certain level of risk, and it’s essential to approach them with a healthy respect for safety. Proper training, equipment, and precautions can help mitigate these risks, allowing you to enjoy the thrill without unnecessary danger. 

Always research your activities and location. This understanding can help you decide if the risk is acceptable and if you have the skills and equipment. Check and maintain your gear, and never sacrifice safety. Finally, embracing adventure with a responsible and safety-conscious mentality lets you enjoy high-risk activities without risking injury.

Living life on the edge embracing adrenaline-fueled moments, is a lifestyle choice that offers a unique blend of thrill, excitement, and personal growth. Whether kitesurfing across the waves, scaling a mountain, or skydiving from a plane, these activities provide an escape from the mundane, a chance to challenge oneself, and an opportunity to experience life at its most vibrant. So, step out of your comfort zone, embrace the adrenaline, and start living on the edge. After all, life is not meant to be lived in the slow lane; rather, it’s about experiencing every thrilling moment it offers.

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Renewable Energy Farms That Make Beautiful Hiking Trails



Wind farms and solar panels are not just alternative means to get our natural resources. They have now combined with another industry and are making some unexpected news. 

The tourism industry has marked renewable energy farms as hiking trails, and hikers are here for it. You can read more about renewable energy sites. Although you might not think of hiking on a wind farm as beautiful as hiking along a famous mountain trail, you might just be in for a surprise. 

Let’s discuss the benefits that renewable energy farms have as hiking trails. 

Why are Renewable Energy Farms Important? 

Renewable energy farms are important for the future of civilization. These farms provide an alternative to our natural resources, such as wind and energy. 

The most important benefit of renewable energy is that it doesn’t produce any greenhouse emissions and reduces the air pollution other traditional processes create when providing natural resources. 

These farms also allow for the creation of the country’s own resources without having to import natural resources from another country and save their limited natural resources. 

Here are some of the reasons why energy farms are important: 

  • Allows for sustainable rural development 

This will allow landowners to make an extra income by generating energy. 

  • Test new technologies 

Providing the opportunity to test technologies to find new ways to create renewable energy. 

  • Improving the effect of climate change 

Climate change has left the environment filled with toxic pollutants, which has led people to become sick and breathe in harmful air. 

Renewable energy can change this by lessening the number of pollutants that are released into the atmosphere and providing much safer, cleaner, breathable air. 

  • This leads to job creation 

Job creation within the renewable energy farms industry is plentiful as there is a need for skilled workers such as construction, maintenance and manufacturing to build the necessary infrastructure that is needed to generate these wind and solar farms. 

The Benefits of Renewable Energy Farms As Hiking Trails 

Renewable energy farms have many benefits for both the environment and people who love spending their time outdoors. 

Embracing the Use of Green Technology 

Since wind farms and solar plants are located in areas that are unpopulated, they make for great hiking trails. 

By visiting these sites, people get to experience green technology, and by integrating them into recreational spaces, people can visit these sites and embrace green technology by seeing how they work and the positive effects that it has on the environment. 

The more people embrace the shift to green technology, the easier it will be to use it. 

Energy Farms Offer A Unique Experience For Visitors 

Visiting energy farms means you will have a unique experience while there. You will get to see how these large devices work and how they replace the basic resources needed to survive. 

Tours can give visitors more information on the background of the construction of devices, their environmental impact and why it is important for us to switch to sustainable energy resources. 

Visitors Get to Enjoy Natural Beauty 

The sites for these renewable energy farms are often located in areas that are surrounded by natural beauty, such as large landscapes. 

Natural pathways can be used as hiking trails without the need for carving out new roads and damaging the ecosystem. 

Visitors can even discover native plant life and explore the natural wonders that are located at these energy farms, as they are often placed where no infrastructure has been built on the property before. 

Providing Health and Wellness Benefits 

Hiking has many health benefits, such as reducing stress, improving fitness, and helping aid mental well-being. 

Energy Farms have Community Benefits and Increase the Economy 

These hiking trails can help boost economic sales, bringing tourists to the community. This will give the local people the opportunity to expand their businesses. 

This can also help increase employment within the community as these sites will be visited frequently and lead to new business openings to cater to tourists. 


Renewable energy farms greatly benefit both the economy and the people who want to spend their time on them. These farms are especially important for transitioning from natural resources to newer energy resource power plants. 

From learning how to embrace green technology to getting health and wellness benefits to enjoying nature’s natural beauty and finding job opportunities within the market. 

Spending time on these renewable energy farms can be educational and recreational for anyone who visits them. To find more renewable energy farm hiking trails, you can visit


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Top Recommendations for RV Window Maintenance



Much like other sections of your RV, the windows sometimes need a bit of maintenance. It is essential to clean off dirt and insect smudges and also make sure they are adequately sealed to avoid leaks and water harm.

If you have a broken RV window, then you may want to consult Van Isle Glass. However, if you wish to know more about simple measures to ensure your RV windows stay spotless and secure, you are in the right spot! Continue reading below.

Polish Your Windshield Using Ultra-Fine #0000 Steel Wool

Numerous RV enthusiasts have praised the use of the finest grade of steel wool #0000 for removing stubborn bugs and water marks from their windshields. Before proceeding, first test the #0000 steel wool on a small portion of your windshield. Apply it with light, circular motions. Sweep away any remaining steel wool bits with a microfiber towel. Next, spritz the surface with a residue-free glass cleaner and wipe it down with a separate cloth.

Steel wool is also great when used with a spray lubricant for cleaning tires, maintaining grills, starting campfires, and repelling mice. A gentler alternative is cleansing dish pads. These pads are versatile, suitable for cleaning various materials such as wood, porcelain, stainless steel, chrome, painted areas, and glass.

Apply a Sealant to Avoid Leaks

Silicone sealant is effective in stopping leaks in areas like your windshield, RV windows, sunroof, and vents. It penetrates tiny gaps, creating a robust waterproof barrier. Ensure the surfaces are clean before application and do not have old caulk, dirt, oil, and other residues.

Furthermore, clear away any standing water on windows to prevent hard water stains. Make sure the inside of your windows stay dry to avoid condensation and mold build-up. If there is significant condensation on your windows, consider getting a small dehumidifier.

Use Tools to Access Difficult Regions

Using cleaners with long handles can prevent you from straining to clean those distant parts of your windshield. Windshield cleaning tools often feature a lengthy, swiveling triangular head that is ideal for getting into corners and spots difficult to access manually.

Opt for a Residue-Free Glass Cleaner

A high-quality glass cleaner will maintain the clarity of your windows and windshield. A great glass cleaner performs well on both standard and tinted windows, making sure to remove streaks or leftover residue. Another option is a natural concoction of half vinegar and half water, with a touch of lemon essential oil.

Steer Clear of Cleaning RV Windows in Bright Sunlight

A sunny afternoon may feel perfect for washing your RV windows, but the warmth can speed up the drying of the cleaner, resulting in streaks or spots. It is advisable to tackle your RV window cleaning during early morning, late evening, or when stationed in a shaded area for the best outcome.


Keeping your RV windows clean and clear is not only about aesthetics, but is also vital for safety. The subtleties in cleaning, like steering clear of the sun and using the appropriate products, play a key role. Adhering to these guidelines will help you maintain a pristine view during your various journeys.

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