Tips for a Successful Old Rag Mountain Hike
One of the things that attracts so many people to Old Rag Mountain is its view of the morning sunset cresting over the dips and valleys of trees. Despite its popularity, this hike may not necessarily be for those who don’t have the stamina, as the trek is strenuous. However, if you’re up for the challenge, here are some tips for a successful Old Rag Mountain hike.
Know the Trails
Old Rag Mountain is a great day hike, taking about five to seven hours to complete. The route is a loop of the mountain, which is about 9.7 miles long and has an elevation of over 3,000 feet. Nine miles may not sound like much to some, but it is not for those with medical conditions or those who are not physically fit.
At mile 2.5, the area becomes a rock scramble. While you don’t necessarily need rock climbing experience, you should be able to lift your weight to get over the granite boulders.
Camping is forbidden at about 2,800 feet, and the only shelters are for day use and aren’t until 5 miles in. This hike is strenuous and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
The length of this hike can make exhaustion set in quickly. Therefore, you’ll need to bring a hydration pack with you regardless of when you plan on hiking. In addition, you should always bring high-calorie snacks, a first aid kit, and bug spray to avoid any accidents or unnecessary discomfort. While you can hike the loop in the winter, the ice makes the rock scrambles even more difficult, so always come with a plan and check the weather before you arrive.
Even in the winter, you should bring sunglasses to mitigate any rays reflecting into your eyes from the snow. Clothing should be layered and waterproof to lower the risk of getting any snow in your clothing. Bring heating packs and extra gloves because if the snow gets in your layers, your core body temperature will drop quickly.
Remember that Old Rag Mountain is also home to many wildlife species, including bears. For the health of the animals, don’t litter, and don’t leave supplies that may attract wildlife toward the path of the hikers.
It is also important to note that if you do end up needing to call for rescue, you can be fined for disorderly conduct if it is found that you ended up in that situation due to a series of poor decisions. While this is not common, it has happened a handful of times, and people have gotten seriously injured from being unaware and making bad choices.
Even though you should absolutely take these tips for a successful Old Rag Mountain hike seriously, this is a fun and beautiful hike. Just remember, it’s not anything to be ashamed of if your body can’t handle it, as everyone would rather you be safe than unnecessarily push yourself. But if you feel like your body is up for the challenge, start planning your trip to the most beautiful hike in the Mid-Atlantic!