Masada National Park Snake Path is a 1.3 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near the city of Be'er Sheva that offers scenic views and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round.
Masada is a UNESCO Heritage Site and the second-most visited site in Israel, after Jerusalem. Masada, the last fortress of Jewish freedom fighters protesting Roman rule, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and national park. Its camps, fortifications and assault ramp constitute the most complete surviving ancient Roman siege system in the world. Because of its history and the wonderful condition of its ruins, its second in popularity only to Jerusalem as an Israeli tourist destination. Herod, a Roman king of Judea, created Masada in 37-31 B.C. as a winter palace. In 66 AD it served as a fortress against a Roman attack. The snake path was a "back door" to the fortress and rarely used at the time. Today there are around 700 steps that cover 2 km, and gain 350 m (1,148 feet) in elevation. This trail is frequently completed by taking the tram back down, but you can also return the way you came or take the path down the other side of the plateau.
Truly a spectacular hike site for views and for culture. The hike isn't terribly long, but it is rather vertical, so young children are certainly discouraged and no pets. The top is completely open so if you're going in the summer (even arriving for sunrise) please be aware it is very warm and be sure to bring water. There are place on top to refill them. Highly recommended if you have the time.
hard but so worth it
07/24/2015 - Hiking up Masada at sunrise has been on my bucket list for over a decade. It was a thrill to be able to do it. The path consists of a number of switchbacks that make it's way up 350 meters over 2 km. It's a tough climb in the heat. Even at 5:30 AM it was hot, so doing this hike in the winter would make it much easier. The reward at the top overlooking the Dead Sea to Jordan and the surrounding desert make this location a dream. Learn about the history of the site before going and the reward is much greater.
More on my hiking blog at cairnguru.com