Where is Masada

Masada towers 400 meters above the Dead Sea, Israel, and is situated on a fairly flat stretch of the Judean Desert adding to its impressive appearance. The steep sloped mountain is topped off by a flat plateau where over 2000 years ago King Herod built a royal retreat, later in the 1st century AD a group of Jewish zealots made the mountain fortress their last stand against the Romans who eventually scaled the mountain only to find that the remaining Jews had taken their own lives rather than be captured.

The mountain is isolated between Sedom and Ein Gedi, on the Dead Sea and all around the mount is fairly flat desert terrain and dramatic gorges close to the mountain’s steep cliff sides. Mount Masada is within Masada National Park which is 18km south of Ein Gedi and 12km from Ein Bokek both of which are on the shore of the Dead Sea. Masada is about 48km from Jerusalem and 20km east of Arad.

 The isolated location, difficult approach and challenging climb to the mountain plateau which gives a 360  ̊ view across the region made this the perfect choice for Herod to build his retreat in case of a Jewish revolt. Although eventually these precautions did not help him and the mountain fortress was captured.

Although there is public transport from Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem to Masada organized tours are the most popular way of reaching this remote location, the tours often include a visit to the nearby Dead Sea.

The Eastern Approach to Masada

The approach to the eastern side of the mountain is on the Dead Sea side reached by Road 90, the Dead Sea Highway. On the eastern side you will find the guesthouse and at the point where the cable car leaves there is a tourist center where you can also see a film about the Masada story, souvenir shop, restaurant, museum and parking area. You can also access the Snake Path from the eastern approach to Mount Masada. The Snake Path takes between 45 minutes and 3 hours to climb depending how fit you are.

The Western Approach to Masada

If you are going to the Sound and Light Show or to the camp ground you should use the western approach. If you are driving to Masada from either the Dead Sea or Be’er Sheva take Road 31 towards Arad, pass through Arad on Yahuda Street and turn into Moab Street. Eventually you will reach Zor Street on your left, follow Zor Street until it joins Road 3199 and from there it is another 22km to the west side of Masada. It is the western access road you should take if you are going to see the Sound and Light Show. The western approach is also where you will find the Roman ramp which you can walk up.

Reaching the top of Masada

In ancient times climbing the mountain could be done by the eastern Snake Path, the White Rock from the west and two more challenging paths on the north and south.

Today there are three access routes to the summit of Mount Masada one is by cable car which leaves from the Dead Sea on the eastern side of the mountain. You can also walk up the mountain either on the Ramp Trail (western side) or the Snake Path (eastern side) which gets its name from the twists and turns it makes along the way.


mini-DSC_0334 Masada ruins South Israel mini-IMG_3721 Masada fortifications on the site of the cliff mini-IMG_3677 Masada top cable car station Top of Mt.Masada mini-DSC_0389 On the road to Eilat mini-DSC_0380 mini-DSC_0388 Masada

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