Considered one of Virginia's most scenic and challenging hikes, Shenandoah National Park now requires a ticket for those wishing to trek Old Rag Mountain during peak season. 

As part of a year-long pilot program, hikers who wish to summit Old Rag Mountain between March 1 and November 30 will need a day-use ticket in addition to an entrance pass. 

Though it is a strenuous 9.2-mile hike climbing more than 2,000 feet above the Shenandoah Valley, Old Rag Mountain Loop has become the most popular hike in Shenandoah National Park. The park is located about 75 miles from Washington, D.C., making it a beloved escape into nature from the bustle of the capital city. 

Old Rag can take most of the day to hike but those who tackle the challenging trail are treated to spectacular views and an adventurous scramble over, between and around granite boulders. 

Shenandoah National Park_Old Rag hike
Rocky lookout at the Old Rag hike in Shenandoah National Park ©R. Ressner/Getty Images

“The number of people climbing Old Rag Mountain continues to grow and congestion on the mountain is impacting resources. This pilot project will allow us an opportunity to test a strategy for managing this area to ensure Old Rag is preserved and everyone has a high-quality trip,” Patrick Kenney, superintendent of Shenandoah National Park, said. 

Read more: 7 incredible scenic hikes in Virginia 

How to get a ticket to hike Old Rag Mountain

To get a ticket to hike Old Rag Mountain, you’ll need to have an account on

The park makes 800 tickets available 30 days in advance of the hiking date at 10am EST.  It then makes a second set of 400 tickets available five days in advance of the hike date at 10am EST. 

Tickets cost $1. Hikers will also need to pay the park entrance fee or show their America the Beautiful park pass. 

Cell phone coverage is spotty in the park so hikers are urged to purchase tickets before traveling. The Old Rag fee station does not have internet access so tickets will not be available onsite. 

Hikers are also advised to print out the ticket or take a screenshot. They will need to show a picture ID, the ticket and pay the park entrance fee on arrival. 

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