DISTANCE
3.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,299 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

hiking

walking

views

no dogs

hiking
1 month ago

Just completed this loop last week. Trail is not well marked to start from either Roman Ramp or snake path, but once you are on the trail it is well marked. Starting from the snake path you start like you are going up the snake path like everyone else, as the mountain's plain begins to get give way to the rocky sides of the moutain you see a wide path to the right, it is just inside the borders of the ancient roman wall. This is where you turn. There are no markers here, but as long as you are going along parallel to ancient roman wall you know you are on the right trail. Soon you will see a marker identifying with the red and white markings. Keeping going until you see the turn to the green and white marked stones, this is where you ascend around the northern side of Masada and see Herod's winter palace above you. The turn is just at the roman camp "D". This is a well marked trail, climbing upward, with hand holds on ocasion, constatnly climbing up. Eventually you level off just east and below the modern concert seating used for outdoor concerts under the stars. You should end up right at the base of the roman ramp, but you need to go opposite of the flow of people going up the roman ramp, back towards the parking lot for several meters and look for the red and white marked train. It is just west of the water storage shed and can take a few minutes to find, once again this area is not well marked. Walk along and then Climb up the red and white trail which takes you up the back side of Ma'ale Eleazar. There is a little bit of loose rock and scree, but fairly manageable. As you ascend you will crest at the junction with the black and white trail. Turn left here and walk along the crest of Mt Eleazar with views of Masada to your left and the Dead Sea and Jordan in front of you. As you walk along the black and white trail you will come to a sign that warns of a dangerous descent. This is the hardest park of the trail. However if take your time and are deliberate with your footing this will be no problem. The trail is obvious, but it is steep with jagged rocks and some scree. Just don't rush this part of the trail and you will be fine. At the bottom you will be at the bus ramp for the visitors center. Walk in and reward yourself with a cold drink.

I did this trail in July, but we started at 5:00 and were rewarded with a beautiful sunrise on the trail. I am 56 and my wife is 51 and we did the trail in 3 hours and 10 minutes. There is water in the roman ramp parking lot and visitors center at snake path, otherwise there is absolutely no water. We brought 3 liters each and it was plenty for the entire trail, didn't need to fill up. Unless you have hiked in the desert before and are comfortable with the environment don't hike this in the summer. Temperatures can get 100-110 degrees Farenheit.

The hike is really amazing and gives you a different perspective of Masada. The canyons that trail off the sides around them are very beautiful. The lighting and views are spectacular. This is an "A+" hike.