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Rag Mountain is best hike in VA's Shenandoah National Park

I was very happy to complete the 10 mile hike up and down Rag Mountain with no major problems; AllTrails rated the hike as hard (I would agree because of the bouldering section) with hikers scoring it an overall 4.8 out of 5 for quality of the experience

I was very happy to complete the 10 mile hike up and down Rag Mountain with no major problems; AllTrails rated the hike as hard (I would agree because of the bouldering section) with hikers scoring it an overall 4.8 out of 5 for quality of the experience

I wanted to tackle the hike, with its 2700 feet of elevation gain, to gauge my fitness before hiking Mt. Olympus in Greece this summer on a tour; the week after climbing Rag Mountain my Greece tour got cancelled but I had still planned to go to visit Meteora before my mom got sick

I wanted to tackle the hike, with its 2700 feet of elevation gain, to gauge my fitness before hiking Mt. Olympus in Greece this summer on a tour; the week after climbing Rag Mountain my Greece tour got cancelled but I had still planned to go to visit Meteora before my mom got sick

The gravity-defying boulder formations on the hike were ridiculous; the Blue Ridge Parkway, America's longest linear park, runs 469 miles linking Shenandoah National Park with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The gravity-defying boulder formations on the hike were ridiculous; the Blue Ridge Parkway, America's longest linear park, runs 469 miles linking Shenandoah National Park with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

There were some tight squeezes and a long section of bouldering that required lots of creativity given my limitations; it was below freezing too so I only saw 4 other people the entire hike and 3 were having lunch at the top

There were some tight squeezes and a long section of bouldering that required lots of creativity given my limitations; it was below freezing too so I only saw 4 other people the entire hike and 3 were having lunch at the top

There were arrows marking the route most of the time but I did rely on the AllTrails app in places when I wasn't sure; the hike is rated second best thing to do in Shenandoah National Park after Skyline Drive on TripAdvisor

There were arrows marking the route most of the time but I did rely on the AllTrails app in places when I wasn't sure; the hike is rated second best thing to do in Shenandoah National Park after Skyline Drive on TripAdvisor

Because of its popularity, the National Park Service has instituted a new policy that requires Rag Mountain hikers to get a permit ahead of time (it only costs $1); this can be done online but not in the park since there is no cell service there

Because of its popularity, the National Park Service has instituted a new policy that requires Rag Mountain hikers to get a permit ahead of time (it only costs $1); this can be done online but not in the park since there is no cell service there

In addition to the hiking permit, you had to pay to enter Shenandoah National Park which is $30 per car although I have an annual pass; elderly and disabled people who owned property here when the park was established were allowed to live in the park until they died with the last person dying in 1979

In addition to the hiking permit, you had to pay to enter Shenandoah National Park which is $30 per car although I have an annual pass; elderly and disabled people who owned property here when the park was established were allowed to live in the park until they died with the last person dying in 1979

Some of the rocks exposed in Shenandoah National Park are more than one billion years old, making them among the oldest in VA; bedrock in the Park includes Grenville-age granitic basement rocks (1.2–1.0 billion years old)

Some of the rocks exposed in Shenandoah National Park are more than one billion years old, making them among the oldest in VA; bedrock in the Park includes Grenville-age granitic basement rocks (1.2–1.0 billion years old)

There was no identifiable peak to Rag Mountain but there were several boulders like this one that could have been the highest point; FDR formally opened Shenandoah National Park on July 3, 1936

There was no identifiable peak to Rag Mountain but there were several boulders like this one that could have been the highest point; FDR formally opened Shenandoah National Park on July 3, 1936

President Hoover built Rapidan Camp (the precursor to Camp David) in what is now Shenandoah National Park with it later becoming a Boy Scout camp and federal retreat with the camp now open to the public

President Hoover built Rapidan Camp (the precursor to Camp David) in what is now Shenandoah National Park with it later becoming a Boy Scout camp and federal retreat with the camp now open to the public

It definitely would have been easier to do the hike with someone else since there were places a boost or hand to assist would have been helpful; I've been wearing a posture vest to hopefully reduce the back pain I experience when doing much walking and it seems to help

It definitely would have been easier to do the hike with someone else since there were places a boost or hand to assist would have been helpful; I've been wearing a posture vest to hopefully reduce the back pain I experience when doing much walking and it seems to help

I didn't expect ice on a mid-March hike in the VA mountains; the nearest town to Rag Mountain is Culpeper which is about 30 minutes from the trailhead or Charlottesville, with more to see and do, a little more than an hour away

I didn't expect ice on a mid-March hike in the VA mountains; the nearest town to Rag Mountain is Culpeper which is about 30 minutes from the trailhead or Charlottesville, with more to see and do, a little more than an hour away

The hike is best done as a clockwise loop so you tackle the bouldering on the way up and descend along hiking trails and fire roads; the National Park Service even has rangers checking names off at the end to ensure no one is left on the mountain

The hike is best done as a clockwise loop so you tackle the bouldering on the way up and descend along hiking trails and fire roads; the National Park Service even has rangers checking names off at the end to ensure no one is left on the mountain

Posted by VagabondCowboy 10:10

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Beautiful hike!!!

by mball58

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