Old rag loop hike

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Mar 17, 2014
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Next Thursday/Friday I plan on doing this loop hike at old rag in Virginia: https://www.hikingupward.com/snp/oldrag/

Ideally I'd to arrive at the trailhead around 5pm on Thursday and set up a campsite to spend the night. This would make it perfect to wake up early Friday morning and start the hike and beat the crowds. Has anyone done what I'm planning to do, if so are there a lot of adequate spots to set up a campsite around the Old Rag trailhead on Nether's Road? Thanks in advance everybody
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JDWalters

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Apr 21, 2017
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Camping at the trailhead isn't a great option, in my opinion. The parking area is almost a mile from the trailhead, and the area in between appears to be privately owned. I suppose you could camp at the trailhead, but I think a better option would be to camp along the trail. The best campsites are mostly likely to be found along the Weakley Hollow Fire Road. The stream is nearby and it should be easier to find a good spot for a tent. You can also camp along the Ridge Trail, but finding a good spot may be tougher.

I would recommend camping along the Weakley Hollow Fire Road (you'll go down the road to the right, once you reach the trailhead), and then begin your hike from there on Friday. You can hike the circuit, and you'll end up back at your campsite.

I'm not sure if you have a trail map other than the Hiking Upward one, but you can see the NPS map here:
https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/upload/old_rag_area.pdf
 
Joined
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Messages
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Camping at the trailhead isn't a great option, in my opinion. The parking area is almost a mile from the trailhead, and the area in between appears to be privately owned. I suppose you could camp at the trailhead, but I think a better option would be to camp along the trail. The best campsites are mostly likely to be found along the Weakley Hollow Fire Road. The stream is nearby and it should be easier to find a good spot for a tent. You can also camp along the Ridge Trail, but finding a good spot may be tougher.

I would recommend camping along the Weakley Hollow Fire Road (you'll go down the road to the right, once you reach the trailhead), and then begin your hike from there on Friday. You can hike the circuit, and you'll end up back at your campsite.

I'm not sure if you have a trail map other than the Hiking Upward one, but you can see the NPS map here:
https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/upload/old_rag_area.pdf

Oh okay, thank you for the pointer! The one thing I just wasn't sure about was doing the whole 9 mile loop with a full pack or not? How close would camping spots along Weakley Hollow Fire Road be the the trailhead? Less than a mile?


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JDWalters

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Oh okay, thank you for the pointer! The one thing I just wasn't sure about was doing the whole 9 mile loop with a full pack or not? How close would camping spots along Weakley Hollow Fire Road be the the trailhead? Less than a mile?


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You should definitely be able to find a good camp site along the fire road within a mile of the trailhead. I would not want to carry a full backpack for the whole circuit hike. I'm sure you could do it, but it would make some of the tight squeezes in the rocks along the ridge a little less enjoyable. Are you hoping to camp and then take your stuff back to your car before starting the hike? I would not recommend that. Remember, you have to walk almost a mile from the parking area to the trailhead. I would just camp, and then leave your camp set up until you reach it at the end of your hike (assuming you ascend the mountain on the Ridge Trail and descend by way of Saddle/Weakley Hollow).
 
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You should definitely be able to find a good camp site along the fire road within a mile of the trailhead. I would not want to carry a full backpack for the whole circuit hike. I'm sure you could do it, but it would make some of the tight squeezes in the rocks along the ridge a little less enjoyable. Are you hoping to camp and then take your stuff back to your car before starting the hike? I would not recommend that. Remember, you have to walk almost a mile from the parking area to the trailhead. I would just camp, and then leave your camp set up until you reach it at the end of your hike (assuming you ascend the mountain on the Ridge Trail and descend by way of Saddle/Weakley Hollow).

Yea that is also what I was thinking (setting up camp and leaving it set up while doing the loop). Not sure how much trust I have in people not messing with my gear if they happened to find my campsite considering how popular this area is for hiking though.


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JDWalters

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Apr 21, 2017
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Yea that is also what I was thinking (setting up camp and leaving it set up while doing the loop). Not sure how much trust I have in people not messing with my gear if they happened to find my campsite considering how popular this area is for hiking though.


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You'd probably be okay, especially if you're starting early. Most everyone goes up the Ridge Trail first, so if you started early, there wouldn't be that many people passing your camping spot before you got back.
 
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