Route: Old Rag Mtn (VA)

Location
Virginia, US
Description

Neal Gorman described the route:

Old Rag Mountain is unique and exceedingly popular in that it draws approximately 80,000 people each year who show up to hike the Ridge Trail to the summit, down the Saddle Trail and back to their cars via the Weakley Hollow Fire Road.  Some elect to travel in the opposite direction but most often the chosen route is the clockwise direction, the route I just described, the route to which I am partial and the direction I ran yesterday evening.  In total this circuit encompasses 7.5 miles and just shy of 2,200 vertical feet.   By itself, Old Rag is obviously not very big.  Or tall.  In fact, it is more or less a border mountain located between neighboring foothills and the bigger Blue Ridge Mountain peaks of the Shenandoah National Park located immediately to it's west.  For many reasons, however, Old Rag lends itself well to popularity.  For starters, it is located close to various towns, cities and main roads (or vice versa).  Old Rag also happens to offer spectacular views from atop and, well, it’s just a darn fun mountain to experience.  Especially the super rocky summit ridgeline, which requires practically a full mile’s worth of scrambling; sometimes on all fours and at one point the trail even passes through a cave. Aside from Mount Monadnock in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the most pedestrian travelled mountain in the United States, if not the world, Old Rag has to be one of the most hiked mountains in all the land.  As a comparison, 125,000 to 130,000 hike Monadnock each year.  How many mountains and National Park locales can even support this kind of use?