Let’s face it- Not everyone in this world enjoys hiking. Not everyone’s idea of fun includes blisters, trails, and hours of walking. But that doesn’t mean us non-hikers always pass up on great experiences! And hiking the Masada Snake Path in Israel was one of those experiences that I just couldn’t say no to.
To any hiking enthusiast, this uphill trek is an enjoyable, rewarding hike that comes highly recommended for visitors to Israel. For non-hikers, the uphill trek is an exhausting, yet rewarding hike- One of those things where you just have to put on your adventure pants and go for it. If you consider yourself a non-hiker and you’re thinking about hiking the Masada Snake Path, here’s what you’ll need to know to get through and make it to the top!
Yes, aaaall the way up there!
Consider Hiking Masada at Sunrise
If you want to make the hike a little easier on yourself, I highly recommend going at sunrise. First, the temperature is much cooler at this time, so you don’t have to battle the Israeli heat while you ascend Masada. In addition, you can watch the surrounding landscape change in color as the sun rises. This works as a great distraction from how much your legs hurt from all the steps. There are also fewer people at sunrise to judge you and your hiking struggles.
Beautiful views while hiking Masada at sunrise!
Join a Tour
Hiking Masada at Sunrise does mean you’re in for a pretty early wake-up call. To be honest, if I wasn’t already signed up for a tour I would have just kept hitting snooze and skipped the hike altogether. But joining a tour with Tourist Israel held me accountable and made me get up and get ready to hike Masada. Joining a tour is also really helpful because you don’t have to sort out your transportation to Masada in the early morning. You can just hop on the bus and take a nap while the driver does his thing.
Getting up before sunrise is hard work
Don’t Weigh Yourself Down
Before doing the hike, I asked others who had done it, what their experience hiking the Masada Snake Path was like. One guy told me he really struggled, but it was because he was carrying several pounds worth of camera gear up the 700+ steps to the top. If you are a non-hiker, and you’re insistent on bringing all your camera gear for that perfect sunrise silhouette shot, I’m going to recommend suckering your hiker friends into carrying it all for you. Puppy-dog eyes and/or tears are most effective here. Otherwise, my best advice is to pack very lightly for this hike.
There are a lot of steps to take on the Masada Snake Path!
Take Breaks While Hiking Masada
Now is the time to truly accept yourself for the non-hiker you are. Odds are, you’re going to need to take some breaks on the way up to Masada. Don’t fuss about staying with your hiker friends. You’ll make it to the top in your own time. Use these breaks to rehydrate, let your body rest, or take some photos!
Take a breather and take in views like this!
Wear Good Shoes
When hiking Masada, it’s important to wear the right shoes. This is not the kind of hike you want to do in flip-flops. Even the Merrels I wear every day when traveling were barely cutting it. A shoe with a little more foot and ankle support will really help your body while hiking. You’ll also want to make sure they’re well broken in. This is not the time to try out new hiking shoes.
This is what your shoes are up against
Bring Snacks and Water
Having extra water is always a good idea when hiking. The best part is, the more you drink, the less weight you have to carry! And if you’re anything like me, nothing is more motivating than snacks. Bring some tempting snacks to reward yourself with when you finally reach the top! Or, if you need an extra energy boost on the way up, it’s great to have these snacks handy.
Non-hiker eats chocolate croissant to curb her hiking-hanger
Stretch before hiking the Masada Snake Path
This is one I did not do, and I really really regretted it. As a non-hiker, your muscles are probably not used to what Masada is going to do to them. You’ll want to stretch out before AND after your Masada hike. I say this from experience- if you don’t stretch, going back down the steps is going to be arguably more painful than going up. By the end of the hike, my legs were painful, rigid sticks of sadness.
So. Many. Steps.
Rejuvenate in the Dead Sea
But really, the best way to rejuvenate and reward yourself for hiking up Masada is to spend the rest of the morning relaxing at the Dead Sea. Masada is a quick drive away from the Dead Sea and is on the way back to both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, so it only makes sense to stop here. Tourist Israel has a great tour that combines hiking Masada at sunrise and enjoying the Dead Sea. Haven’t enjoyed the wonders of the Dead Sea yet? Here’s what you’ll want to know!
Feeling much more relaxed floating in the Dead Sea!
Hiking the Masada Snake Path in Israel is just one of those things you have to experience. As a non-hiker, the trek may be exhausting and a true test of your limits, but I have to say the view from the top as the sun is taking its position in the sky is one you can’t get anywhere else. When you make your plans to visit Israel, make sure to add a Masada hike to your itinerary!
Note: Thanks to Tourist Israel for hosting me on their Masada Sunrise and Dead Sea tour. As always, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.