Directions to Old Rag parking lots

November 18, 2008

As promised, below are directions to the Old Rag parking lot in Madison County, Virginia, for the mountain hike in Shenandoah National Park:

If coming from west side of the Blue Ridge Mountains (Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, etc):

  • Take Interstate 81 north to exit 264
  • Take 264 toward Luray and prepare to take a left soon after
  • Take left onto Rt. 11 (Old Valley Pike) and prepare to take right soon after
  • Turn right onto US-211 (E. Lee Highway) and cruise for nearly 30 miles until you reach Sperryville
  • Take a right onto US-522 (Berryville Pike) then a left onto Main Street (US-522)
  • Take a right onto Fort Valley Road (VA-231) and proceed for 7.4 miles
  • Take a right onto Sharp Rock Road (It will soon become a one lane gravel road, proceed carefully)
  • Turn right onto Nethers Road
  • Nethers will lead you straight to both parking areas. A high-capacity overflow parking lot is on your left, but if you feel like checking the main lot, keep going for nearly a mile to the very end of the road. A 12-spot parking lot is at the trailhead.

Notes about visiting:

  1. Pets are not allowed on the Old Rag circuit hike. Don’t bring them there. Besides, do you really want to make your dog climb over, under, and through huge boulders?
  2. Park fees apply to parking. Cash is accepted, as well as credit card. Sometimes the booth in the overflow lot is manned, and other times it is self-registration on the honor system.
  3. Allow plenty of time for the hike and bring plenty of water. There is a 2000 foot elevation change in addition to the need to proceed carefully through the rock scramble.
  4. Lastly, and most importantly, this hike is NOT the easiest out there, particularly the rock scramble. If you can’t handle a long duration strenuous hike then perhaps look elsewhere. But, if you think you can handle it, you will be rewarded with some amazing views and beautiful paths.
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