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  1. #1
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    Default Old Rag side trip

    I plan on hiking the AT through from Rockfish Gap to Front Royal in late March. At some point I also wanted to hike Old Rag. Are there any side trails from the AT to Old Rag? Would it be possible to hike off the AT, complete Old Rag, and get back on the trail in one day?

  2. #2

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    define "complete Old Rag"?

    if you mean hike down the Old Rag fireroad, go up the Saddle trail to the summit, turn around and reverse the route then you probably could do that in a day

    if you mean hike down the Old Rag fireroad, circle around on another fireroad to the Ridge trail, up the Ridge Trail to the summit, down the Saddle trail, up the Old Rag fireroad then you could possibly do that in a day if you are in very good shape but I bet your butt would be dragging when you got back to the AT

    as to details of how to get from the AT to Old Rag fireroad - I would probably suggest leave AT at Skyland stables, follow the horse trail down across Skyline Drive and you will hit Old Rag fireroad near the Limberlost area - if hiking a well used (crappy) horse trail does not appeal to you - you can walk the Skyland road down to Skyline Drive, cross over to the parking area and pick up the Whiteoak Canyon trail which will cross Old Rag fireroad in a few tenths - you will still have a crappy section of road to walk but its wider and you can usually avoid the crap

  3. #3
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    Would I be missing much to skip the circuit part and just summit? I know the Old Rag loop is nearly 9 miles but I wasn't sure how difficult it really was or how long the side trails to get to the loop would be. How much more difficult will it make the hike with full backpacking gear versus just a day pack?

  4. #4

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    well if you don't do the Ridge trail you will miss all of the rock scrambles and some of the more "interesting" rock walking - the Saddle trail is nothing special IMO even though it does take you by the two shelters - as to difficulty with a full pack - I don't really know - I did have some friends that did the full pack hike up Ridge and down Saddle with full packs - they started at the parking area close to the Ridge trail start - I met them near the junction of Conley (??? don't have maps handy) trail and the Old Rag fireroad - they seemed to be fairly whupped - but these people were just out for the weekend - not in the same shape as a long distance hiker would be after a month plus of hiking

  5. #5

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    That's a pretty good little walk for a day out and back from the AT. I'm not sure if you're saying that you will be a Thru-hiker on the AT or simply thruhiking SNP. It makes a difference because as an AT thru-hiker you'll have the legs to do it, but if you're just thruhiking SNP than I'm unable to say if it's doable for you.

    I've done Old Rag a few times, but never starting off from the AT, always did it from the parking lot near Nethers. And it's a southbound trip across Old Rag and it's a pretty tough hike to do with a full pack; I've done it, but much more fun with a day pack. However, like I said I've always done it SOBO from the parking lot; as I look at the map it looks (someone correct me if I'm wrong) like you'll have to do it in the opposite direction if you come at it from SNP. Not sure how much of a difference it'll make; I know Blood mountain is a totally different hike NOBO vs. SOBO, but I'm thinking (guessing) Old Rag would be pretty much the same regardless of direction.

  6. #6
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    Not thru hiking the AT this year... that's 2013 Sorry, need to watch the wording. I'm just hiking Shenandoah going NOBO. I'm going to have an extra day or so and wanted to know if you think it would be better to make Old Rag a side-trip from the AT or hike to the car, drive into the park, then hike Old Rag as a separate day trip. Sounds like the day trip might win!

  7. #7

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    good choice - make it a day hike

  8. #8
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    Default

    You can come down off the AT to do this, take an extra day and camp near Weakley Hollow Fire Road (get the central SNP map to look at routes), it's a roundtrip but easy trail from Weakley Fire road up the Saddle Trail. Don't think of coming down the other side of Old Rag and taking the fire road back- the rocks on the Ridge Trail would be quite challenging downhill with a backpack.

    Suggested route - From AT at parking lot by Stony Man Nature Trail go across Skyline drive, pick up Big Meadows horse trail, one mile then left on Old Rag Fire Road, Corbin Hollow Trail, (easier hike than Robertson Mountain Trail which is steep downhill at the end, but you can go that way too and there is a view) to Weakley Hollow Fire Road, turn right. At junction with trail to Old Rag, there are flat areas to camp in the woods beyond. No camping is allowed by the shelter areas up the Saddle Trail. Go up Saddle Trail to Old Rag summit then back down same trail and camp. Back out the same way you came the next day or if you don't mind a bit of a short steep climb up at first, you can take the Robertson Trail back (view at the summit on some rocks). Or if you came down Robertson, you can take Corbin Hollow back up (gentle uphill).
    Last edited by Blissful; 12-19-2011 at 23:20.







    Hiking Blog
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    Shenandoah NP Ridgerunner, Author, Speaker


  9. #9

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    I went up Old Rag on the Ridge Trail last year with a weekend load back pack and it wasn't too bad. You will have to disingage your backpack 2 or 3 times and throw it ahead of you. And one crack that you'll drop down into, you'll have to carry it over your head or in front of you, depending on how wide your pack is. Best to do this with a partner to have someone to throw it to. If you go down the Ridge Trail with a full pack you'll be going against the flow and will have some waiting, especially on the weekends.
    Hokey Pokey

  10. #10

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    http://image83.webshots.com/83/2/95/...7jburlA_fs.jpg

    Map of my hike last year showing our campsite with water. You could also go back up on the White Canyon Trail with the multiple water falls and switched backed trail, if you didn't want to go up the same way you came down.
    Hokey Pokey

  11. #11
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    Hikerhead - link doesn't work. Says FORBIDDEN







    Hiking Blog
    AT NOBO and SOBO, LT, FHT, ALT
    Shenandoah NP Ridgerunner, Author, Speaker


  12. #12

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    http://image83.webshots.com/83/2/95/...7jburlA_fs.jpg

    http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/578615572AEjkvN


    The top one is just of the map, if it works. The bottom link is of all of pics if you want to see them. There's a slideshow button on there also that moves things along quicker. The map is at the end.
    Hokey Pokey

  13. #13
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    Default

    Great pics, thanks for sharing! White Canyon Trail looks like it might be worth the trip, has anyone been there before?

  14. #14

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    Whiteoak Canyon Trail is a little over 4 miles total in length. It is generally referred to in three sections: upper-which goes from the Skyline Drive to the Upper Falls (steep in spots); middle-the section between Upper and Lower Falls (steepest section of the three); and lower (relatively flat, following the stream). I would suggest making it an overnight, there are two shelters on the Saddle Trail. If you choose to camp out, especially close to one of the fire roads, be familiar with SNP camping regulations as these roads do see quite a bit of Ranger activity.
    "Take another road to another place,disappear without a trace..." --Jimmy Buffet

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by restless View Post
    Whiteoak Canyon Trail is a little over 4 miles total in length. It is generally referred to in three sections: upper-which goes from the Skyline Drive to the Upper Falls (steep in spots); middle-the section between Upper and Lower Falls (steepest section of the three); and lower (relatively flat, following the stream). I would suggest making it an overnight, there are two shelters on the Saddle Trail. If you choose to camp out, especially close to one of the fire roads, be familiar with SNP camping regulations as these roads do see quite a bit of Ranger activity.
    has there been a change in the regs? - the last I knew one could not camp overnight at either of those two shelters.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hog On Ice View Post
    has there been a change in the regs? - the last I knew one could not camp overnight at either of those two shelters.
    True. Both are for day use only.
    Hokey Pokey

  17. #17

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    My bad...I always get cornfused as to which shelters are day use and which are overnight...
    "Take another road to another place,disappear without a trace..." --Jimmy Buffet

  18. #18
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    Anyone know of a spot to camp around the upper falls? I was thinking of staying at Rock Springs Hut, doing this as a side trip, then staying at rock springs again. If there's a good camping spot north a few miles on or around the AT at least it could be a nero versus zero.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by EJC View Post
    Anyone know of a spot to camp around the upper falls? I was thinking of staying at Rock Springs Hut, doing this as a side trip, then staying at rock springs again. If there's a good camping spot north a few miles on or around the AT at least it could be a nero versus zero.
    Off the top of my head, I don't recall any good sites near the upper falls. Once you get past the lower falls, where the trail levels out, there are quite a number of nice sites.
    "Take another road to another place,disappear without a trace..." --Jimmy Buffet

  20. #20

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    I think it is a no camping zone from the lower falls up to the upper falls (not real sure of the extent) above the upper falls I can't think of any good sites unless possibly a hammock site and there is another no camping zone that comes in to play also associated with Skyland - one possible spot is near the intersection of Old Rag fire road and Corbin Mtn. Tr. - if I recall correctly this is were I camped with my friends that did the full pack over Old Rag - water was available a relatively short ways down the Corbin Mtn. Tr. and there were several flat areas suitable for tents - I camped up on the rocks in my hammock. Other than that there are some slight possibilities on the downhill side of the horse trail/fire road that leads from the upper falls to Skyline Drive - problem is that these areas are (were) mild bushwhacks the last time I was there but that was several years ago - water was plentiful in the area including a very nice mini water fall (10 ft or so).

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