In a region of small rounded hills, this outing has almost "Alpine" character (especially with some snow and ice - when it becomes a full-on mountaineering experience). That, and a good trail system has made this hike extremely popular and crowded in the warmer months. Best done mid-week, but on a weekend, an early morning start (hit the road from the parking lot by headlamp, so as to start on the trail proper before dawn) will give you some peace. This will also give you sunrise as you climb out of the trees onto the long, rocky crest of the mountain (assuming you are climbing the Ridge Trail and going clockwise). The warm shades of pink painted onto the giant granite boulders by the rising sun will be memorable. For those seeking a more vertical gain, the Ridge Trail can be easily enchained with the Robertson Mountain Trail. Exiting by the Corbin Hollow Trail after tagging the second summit gets you back to Weakly Hollow Fire Road, and thence to Old Rag Parking. An even longer variation is to climb Robertson Mountain after Old Rag, and then exit using the Corbin Mountain and Nicholson Hollow Trails. This last is a daytrip only for the very fast. Or make it a backpack. (see sketch map available at the NP website). Although not unheard of, none of these hikes are for small children. Don't bring your quadruped pet, unless it's a monkey or a mountain goat. Dogs will have a (literally) hair-raising time on the third-class terrain on the ridge. Lastly, for rock climbers, Old Rag offers the best granite anywhere near Washington, D.C. It's better to approach using the Berry Hollow parking and hiking the Saddle Trail to get to the summit area of Old Rag going counter-clockwise if you are burdened with a couple of ropes and a stash of pro (the climbing is all trad).
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