Old Rag Mountain is a state park in central Virginia which typically provides beginning and intermediate hikers with a challenging climb. After parking in the lower lot, prospective hikers must pay and obtain a parking pass before beginning their ascent. The first stretch of the hike is a paved road leading to the start of the trailhead. Along this road there are various homes and hiking lodges, but after a mile or so the official trail begins.
The dirt and gravel trail starts at a minimal incline and gradually increases during the 3.8 mile ascent to the top of the mountain. The first two to three miles of trail can be hiked, but after this period, the rock scramble begins. While the rock scramble is not extremely demanding, potential climbers should probably possess a fair amount of upper-body strength and be fairly athletic. There are not any extremely dangerous maneuvers required during the climb, but a misstep at some places could cause a fairly significant injury.
Multiple convenient lookout points along the hike provide for photo opportunities and a chance to view the many farms and surrounding countryside. After a few hours climbing to the 3,000 foot plus “summit,” the 5.2 mile descent begins. This path starts with a few more miles of the trail surface before changing to the wider fire road. A few camping shelters are present along the fire road, but not much else. Occasionally there will be someone riding a horse or people walking their dogs.
Overall, it will probably take the weekend hiker four to five hours to complete the entire route. While weekend and holidays will typically be more crowded, a trip during the week is usually more peaceful with a limited number of other hikers on the trail.