By Robert Earle Howells

Old Rag Loop

When to Go: April to October

Round-Trip: 8.8 Miles

Level: Moderate Peak Ascent

Bagging 3,291-foot Old Rag is a venerable Blue Ridge Mountains tradition for good reason: You get a sweeping view of the range, ridge after ridge, for 100 miles in every direction on a clear day. Plus it’s a worthy challenge, a 4WD hike that will employ all four limbs and then some. You’ll have to scramble up some steep, heart-quickening granite pitches over the course of gaining at least 2,200 feet.

Insider Tip: Spring is a wonderful time to bag Old Rag. It’s too early for snakes and bugs; streams and waterfalls go crazy; wildflowers pop; and blue-sky views abound, unhindered by leafed-out trees.

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