The Masada Snake Path is the name of the path that climbs up to Masada from the east and is one of the most iconic hikes in Israel.
The path starts from the base of Masada, and winds its up for 2.7 kilometers which is about a mile and a half.
It takes about 45 minutes to climb it while going back down only takes about 25 minutes.
You don’t need to be in great shape to do it, I did it when I was in okay shape and didn’t find it very difficult.
When you reach the top you will be not only be able to see the ancient cite, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but also a view of the Dead Sea.
The fortress at Masada was built by King Herod over 2000 years ago, used as a stronghold by Jewish rebels against the Romans 70 yeas later, and became a symbol for the fight for freedom and independence.
To read more about this see my post on Masada.
In summer, the path closes when the sun is at its hottest – which is usually when the military announces it’s too hot to do physical training outside.
The path opens an hour before sunrise because many tourists like to see the sunrise from the top of it, and more importantly, it’s practical.
Because of the intense summer heat, it is recommended to climb before sunrise in the summer months.
There is even the Masada Campsite West which is a well-equipped campground where you can campout overnight.
The Snake Path opens before the National Park and cable car which many visitors 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.
Most travelers spend around 3 to 4 hours in Masada, so if you plan to hike the trail around Masada, then you’ll need to factor in another hour.
Otherwise, there are steps you can climb or you can take the cable car that runs from the tourist center at the foot of the mountain to the top.
I’ve climbed the Masada Snack Path and gone back down via cable car to save time.
Tips for hiking the Snake Path
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Bring a water bottle
- In the summer months, a hat and sunscreen are a must
- Wear comfortable and breathable fabrics.
- It is good to dress in layers, as it can be cool before the sunrises, and very hot once it emerges
- Bring a camera – your cellphone will work fine.
- Best to bring snacks along, especially because the path is open before the park itself opens so it may not be possible to purchase snacks.
- Bring your own food over all because there aren’t many places (especially not kosher places) to eat in the Judean Desert.