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  • Old Rag LXIX (69) main date

Old Rag LXIX (69) main date

  • 10/14/2023
  • 7:30 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Old Rag Mountain, Sperryville, VA


Note - There is no online registration for this event,  

Please RSVP directly to Clint as indicated below

"We understand that the National Park Service has sold out all remaining day-use tickets for hiking Old Rag Mountain on Saturday, 10/14. Thus, it appears that RSVPs for the hike are no longer possible. However, watch this space in case of a need for postponement of the 10/14 hike due to rain. In that case, we will postpone until our rain date of Saturday 10/28, and CCW will take RSVPs for that date."

The Cornell Club of Washington is resuming some of its regular outdoor events, continuing with our twice-per-year Old Rag hike!

Alumni and Cornell in Washington students will climb Old Rag Mountain, near Sperryville, VA, for the 69th time in our semiannual trek into the Blue Ridge.  This is one of the Washington area's most popular excursions, and we expect a large turnout (25-40 people) each time we go. 

The first 1/3 of the strenuous, 9-mile hike (summit 3291 ft.; elevation gain 2348 ft.) is on an uphill trail through the trees, while the upper part is open and rocky with some challenging rock scrambles. Bring lunch and water (two liters per person *minimum*) in a day-pack, and be sure to wear a hat, sunscreen, and sturdy shoes. You can also pre-order food for pick-up at our rendezvous point in Sperryville, Off the Grid café/market. The total time needed for climbing, enjoying the view, eating, and descending is about 6 hours. We usually get back to D.C. around 7:00 pm. The hike is popular, so we beat some of the crowd with an early start. Therefore, for those originating in DC, a prompt 7:45am start from the Cornell Wolpe Center is needed for this full-day event.

Please note: This is a very strenuous hike: 9 miles long with steep inclines and many elevation changes. Those who have not hiked a trail like Old Rag's are strongly encouraged to e-mail or call Clint Brass, using the contact information below, if you would like to get more information before RSVPing.

Also please note there are several key process changes in this Club event compared to previous years. For one, the National Park Service (NPS) now requires a purchase in advance of a $1.00 “day-use” ticket for each participant in an Old Rag hike. When you RSVP, Clint Brass will provide further information and directions on how to do this. Using this system, NPS limits the number of hikers per day at Old Rag. They instituted this change to address congestion and to protect vulnerable ecosystems. Therefore, it is important to get the day-use tickets as early as you can. When you RSVP, Clint Brass will email you a PDF that describes this and other changes in the event (e.g., new rendezvous point at Off the Grid in Sperryville, the chance to pre-order food for 9:30am Saturday pick-up from Off the Grid, changes in parking at Old Rag, and some changes in the hiking trail).

Dress: Sports/Outdoor

Transportation/Directions: We rendezvous as a group in Sperryville, arriving at Off the Grid café/market before 9:45am, and then drive together as a group to the mountain parking lot. This event depends on carpools. Therefore, we especially need you to volunteer as a potential carpool driver if you have access to a vehicle.

For all drivers, you will receive driving directions by email (PDF file) from Clint Brass when you RSVP. Make sure you print the directions or take a picture of them on your phone (two pages). Do not rely on phones for online maps or email attachments: you will lose cell reception on the way to Sperryville, and roads are not always well marked.

  1. For carpoolers (unless other arrangements are made), come to the Cornell Wolpe Center to meet your driver: 2148 O Street, NW Washington, DC.  (Metro Dupont Circle (Red))  We will leave promptly at 7:45am.
  2. For those driving a carpool from DC, arrive before 7:45am at: Cornell Wolpe Center 2148 O Street, NW Washington, DC. Most carpoolers will rendezvous there, unless other arrangements have been made. 
  3. For those driving directly to our Sperryville rendezvous point, make sure to depart in time to ensure you will arrive at Off the Grid, in Sperryville, before 9:45am.

Cars will be dispatched starting at 7:45am from the Cornell Wolpe Center or may drive directly to our rendezvous point in Sperryville, arriving absolutely no later than 9:45am, just a stone’s throw from our past rendezvous point. Off the Grid is across the street from the former Sperryville Trading/Emporium. At 9:45am, we drive in caravan, as a group, to the mountain parking lot (the newly renamed “Overflow Lot”). The rendezvous at Off the Grid in Sperryville is necessary if we wish to do the hike as a group.

When RSVPing (see below), please indicate if you can give anyone a ride (if so, how many people), if you need a ride, or if you will meet us at Off the Grid.

Costs: You will need to use a credit card to pay two separate fees. Please plan ahead for paying for a $1.00 day-use ticket for each participant in your party. Any carpoolers assigned to your car will purchase their own day-use tickets. Apart from the $1.00 per person day-use ticket that is purchased online, NPS also charges a flat $30/vehicle entrance fee, payable onsite by credit card. A current annual pass for Shenandoah National Park (available for $55, payable onsite by credit card) gets you and car passengers in without need to pay the vehicle entrance fee. Carpoolers should plan to pay in cash (small bills) a portion of the vehicle fee and contribution toward gas money (variable amount up to around $10).

If you wish to get food at Off the Grid, you can pre-order a sandwich from them by 3:00pm Friday, the day before the hike. When you RSVP, Clint Brass will email you directions on how you can do this.

Because of the use of day-use tickets, it appears that there is less risk of the NPS parking lot filling. In case the NPS “Overflow Lot” fills, it may be necessary to park on neighboring private property, where in the past they have charged an additional $10 fee (cash only).

To attend: RSVP by Wednesday, October 11th, to Clint Brass '90 ( Please provide your name, email address, a telephone number where you can be reached shortly before the hike (in the event of bad weather), and the number of people coming. Friends and family are welcome. In addition, we try to carpool; please indicate if you can give anyone a ride (if so, how many people), if you need a ride, or if you will meet us in Sperryville. To comply with University policy, participants will be asked to sign a standard release form. In the event of a weather-related postponement, the hike will occur on our rain date of Saturday, October 28th.

Contact: Clint Brass (703-216-2035)

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