The Masada Snake Path is one of the most iconic hikes in Israel. Starting from the base of Masada, a famous fortress which stands beside the Dead Sea, the Snake Path winds its way up approximately 400 meters from the lowest place on earth, the Dead Sea, to the peak where archaeological remains tell a story of heroism and endurance, and magnificent views across the Dead Sea and the Moab Mountains of Jordan on the other side, can be enjoyed.
The Masada Snake Path
The fortress at Masada was built by King Herod, conquered by a group of Jewish zealots, and was besieged by the Romans soon after. Rather than be captured, the zealots decided to commit suicide, and their story of heroism and courage is recounted to this day. Masada is one of Israel’s most popular, iconic and impressive sites, and one which has a great story. You can read more about it in our article about Masada.
Climbing Masada at sunrise is something of a tradition in Israel and on a clear day, the emergence of the sun over the Jordanian Mountains, illuminating the sky in a deep red, before projecting a haze across the crystal blue waters of the Dead Sea, is magical, unforgettable, and probably one of the greatest sunrises in the world.
The sunrise at Masada
The Masada Snake Path takes between an hour to ninety minutes to climb, and thirty to forty minutes to descend. Because of the immense summer heat, it is recommended to climb before sunrise in the summer months. The path opens before the National Park, and modern cable car which many visitors now use to ascend and descend the mountain. If you do arrive before the park opens, you can pay your entry fee at the top of the fortress.
Visiting Masada is easy, and generally combines well with a visit to the Dead Sea, and one of the other nature reserves in this region of the country – Ein Gedi or Qumran, or alternatively with a jeep tour in the desert. Whilst it is possible to reach Masada by public transport, it is challenging with buses infrequent, and stopping a walk away from the entrance to the site. If you don’t rent a car, there are, however, a good number of tours to Masada.
A Masada sunrise tour is run three times a week leaving Jerusalem in the early hours, and offers the best way for independent travelers to get to Masada and climb to the top of the fortress. It also allows you to visit Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea. Other Masada Tours don’t include time to climb, although you could do so if you wish.
For families or small groups, taking a private Masada tour for the day with a licensed guide allows you to visit and climb the Masada Snake Path, and visit some of the other treasures of the region.