Morning Hike up Masada

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Masada is one of Israel's most visited tourist sites with about 1 million visitors each year. When talking about Masada, people usually refer to the castle atop the Masada plateau, in which at the end of the First Jewish-Roman War one of the biggest mass suicides of all time happened, as all 960 people in the castle kiled themselves. Despite the history Masada is a happy place and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as most parts are well preserved.

A picture of the view

The view from atop is truly astonishing. In this photo you can see the bottom of the site and the Dead Sea in the background.

How to get up

If you chose to stay at the youth hostel there are two possibilities, each with their own ups and downs, choosing one comes down to personal preference

Using the Cable Car

This one is a lot more comfortable obviously, especially in the summer this might be a good choice. After getting your ticket (47 Shekels for both directions, more on the bottom of the page) it is pretty straightforward. When I visited, the Gondolas were all well maintained and everything was as barrier-free as possible.

A picture of the Gondola

These clean windows make for some really good photos

What to take

-Money: You obviously won’t be able to get up there for free

-Water: It is still hot up there, and I assume the small water canister I found on top won’t be enough for everyone

-Camera, Smartphone or Binoculars: The view is fantastic all year round

-Closed shoes: Although you shouldn’t have any problems walking around without Hiking shoes, dust will be getting everywhere

Using the snake path

Note: Due to some accidents the snake path is now closed at roughly 2 hours after sunrise, I could not find any exact ruling for that though.

For this it is important to consider the time you are visiting. I visited in August, which led to a not so comfortable 40°C of heat (in the shadow!) before the sun even got up. If you were to visit in winter, make sure to pack a light jacket and check the weather forecast as the descent, especially in the morning or late evening could get a little cold. Even in winter clouds and small sandstorms are not much of a issue.

The Path

From my own hiking experience, I would say that this is a rather easy trail to hike, as even for small slopes there are steps installed, there are railings everywhere and there are even small shelters from the sun, if you feel the need for a rest. Be advised tough that the heat makes the hike harder than you might expect.

A picture of the snake path

If you should ever wonder where the name comes from...

Here you have the strava segment for going up, note that I took roughly 30 Minutes at a fast pace (not running though), still I think the official estimates are a little off.

What to take:

-Money: When I went in the morning, there was no staff either at the bottom or the top, which is why I went for free. The official website however states entrance fees, therefore better be safe than sorry.

-Water: That definitely is a smart idea, as you may guess.

-Camera, Binoculars: The view is great all year round

-Proper shoes: As I said, the path itself is not that much of a problem, rather the heat and the dust. Pick a pair of shoes that you are comfortable with walking over gravel.

-A backpack: As you will probably have to take a fair amount of stuff with you, that definitely is a smart idea. Furthermore, this allows for packing more water, ideally suited to help out some fellow hikers who miscalculated a bit.

-A Flashlight: Depends on your own eyesight. When I went (as soon in the morning as it was allowed) I never needed to switch my flashlight on. Looking at other people however I seemed to be the only one doing so, I guess it comes down to personal preference.

What else to consider

Masada is located roughly in the middle of Ein Gedi and Ein Bokek, the author recommends staying at the hostel at the bottom, as this is by far the best hostel the author has ever been to (And no I don't get any money for saying so). There are obviously reasons despite that, mainly being that traffic from the bigger cities can be slow and therefore one might arrive a little late. Especially in the winter it might not be necessary to stay at the hotel, then taking a bus from one of the nearer cities is a good (and cheaper) option. If you choose to stay a night you can afford to spend a little more time there, for example in the Masada Museum or watching the night show (Tuesdays and Thursdays). As Masada is a National park, you can expect to see some Mountain Gazelles. You should also remember that this is an important place for the Jewish people, you might even see a wedding up there. If you would like to know more, I linked the current weather forecast and the official website.

Numbers are in °C and km/h

To finish off, here you have some pictures from my last visit. I wish you a joyful trip!

Impressions from Masada

And this is the end of the article. Now what I think would be really cool would be to have some sort of editor's note, with interesting things concerning the Website, and also to have some article recommendations based on the article that was just read. But I'm quite sure I will get to that soon enough