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Old Rag Mountain Hike, Shenandoah National Park

(5/5 based on 240+ reviews on the web)
Old Rag Mountain is a popular hiking destination with a summit elevation of, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia's Madison County, near Sperryville.In contrast to most mountains of the Blue Ridge, Old Rag has an exposed (rocky) summit.GeologyOld Rag Mountain is underlain by Old Rag Granite, named for its ubiquitous exposure on the mountain, formed during the Grenville Orogeny about a billion years ago. About 400 million years after the Grenville orogeny during the Catoctin Formation, deposition of basaltic magma occurred during the formation of the Iapetus Ocean, forming a layer of greenstone over the granite. This was followed by the Weverton Formation, Harpers Formation, and Antietam formation in which sand and rock sedimented on the ocean floor forming quartzite and sandstone deposits. Finally a period of sedimentation of shells and skeletons of foraminifera resulted in deposition of a layer of limestone. Approximately 700 million years after the Greenville Orogeny, the Iapetus Ocean began to close resulting in the Alleghenian Orogeny when the Old Rag Granite and layers of rock deposited upon it were transported westward and eventually thrust up over the limestone bed around it, forming Old Rag and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
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TripAdvisor
  • I can say we did this once in our lives. Took all day, bring lots of water and snacks/lunch. Breathtaking views. Need to be in excellent physical shape since some rocks you have to climb over.  more »
  • Be prepared to do a lot of scrambling over rocks. This is probably the most difficult hike I have ever done. But, the view at the top is absolutely worth it. If you want to hike the entire circuit mak...  more »
  • The summit of Old Rag Mountain is unique because of its geology and its location. This bald area of huge boulders is really the eroded away root of an ancient mountain that once stood several times hi...  more »