Masada Sunrise Hike, Israel
Updated: Jan 27, 2020
If you've ever been to Israel or have started to plan a trip there, you've probably heard of Masada. Masada is a historical site located on the top of a 45 minute hike that overlooks the desert and the Dead Sea. It's a hike I've done at least once a year, and it's a must on my list of places to take people who come visit. The hike is most known for being done during the sunrise for a couple of reasons. 1) The view is insanely gorgeous during the sunrise 2) It is honestly way too dangerous to do the hike during the day, especially in the summer. Since it's so deep into the desert, the sun and heat can be extremely dangerous (so if you go, make sure to make it a sunrise hike!).
This hike is a real ass kicker, it's basically entirely uphill. If you do it right, the first half is done in complete darkness. I always have a flashlight with me and there are handrails going up the narrow trail (so no worries there). Although it's pretty cold to start with, I always end up stripping down to my sports bra minutes into the hike because I get so bloody overheated so quick. Fun fact: there's a guy who's job it is to climb up the trail every. single. morning. to make sure the trail is safe and is still guarded properly. Can you image the calves on this guy?!
Once you get to the top, GO FIND A LOOKING POINT. I have a favorite spot that is legit my only motivation to keep pushing forward on the hike to get there first. My friend and I made it to our spot and had enough time before the sunrise started to eat a snack, drink some water and set up our tripod. My favorite spot is directly to the right of getting to the top and it's closed off by a permanent "do not enter" sign. Feel free to use it as long as I'm not there ;). You'll see in the pictures that we showed up in matching workout sets in red, white and blue. We wanted to make sure everyone knew we were American basic white girls. But to make it clear, we had NO SHAME.
The sunrise was magical, like always! (video at bottom of blog) and we spent the next two hours walking around the site learning about the history of the Masada. I've done the walking tour every time I've been there, and it's still such an interesting story and beautiful site. The story of the Masada can be read about ahead of time but I think it's way more fun reading about it when you get there so you can see it and imagine it at the same time.
After the Masada you can go for a quick drive over to the Dead Sea or Ein Gedi. I would go to the Ein Gedi because of the cold natural pools that are freaking awesome after the long sweaty hike.
If you don't have a car, there are a lot of trips that are done from Tel Aviv to the Masada with a visit to the Dead Sea as well. It's a quick google search! I would however recommend renting a car that way you can spend as much time as you want in each place :)
Important to note: there is a tram that goes up and down the hike (but it doesn't start until after sunrise), and there is a place at the top to refill water.