View of the Dead Sea from Mount Sdom

Mount Sodom Hike (From our Bible Walks Series)

The unique landscape on a white Salt Mountain. Mount Sodom’s soil containing 80% Salt, creates a unique landscape that cannot be found anywhere else. Deep creeks and special rock formations all in bright white colors. It is also the setting of the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah that is mentioned more than 20 times in both the old and new Testament.

Hike Metrics
Hike Description
Distance10.5 Km
Short versions7.5 Km
Climb300 m
LevelModerate
BestDec - Mar
PossibleNov - Apr
LocationGoogle-Maps-icon-2020
Start PointGoogle-Maps-icon-2020

Important Notes:
  • The hike is not accessible with public transport but can be reached with a short Taxi ride from the Ein Bokek hotels complex.
  • The descend from mount Sodom to the Dead Sea is very steep and includes several metal ladders!)
Skip Introductionto Hike Description

Sodom the symbol of Destruction
Standing on the summit of Mount Sodom and looking at the harsh dry landscape that surrounds us we can understand why the extermination of Sodom and Gomorrah became the ultimate symbol for punishment and destruction.

Sodom and Gomorrah afire, by Jacob Jacobsz. de Wet d. J., probably Köln, c. 1680, oil on canvas - Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt - Darmstadt, Germany
Sodom and Gomorrah afire, by Jacob Jacobsz

Biblical References (Few examples out of many) –
Old Testament:

Genesis 10:19 - Identification of Sodom's Location
“The territory of the Canaanite extended from Sidon as you go toward Gerar, as far as Gaza; as you go toward  Sodom and Gomorrah  and Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.”
Explanation: The territory of the Canaanites is now described, in general terms, as commencing at the Phenician city of Sidon and running southward to Gerer and Gaza, cities of the Philistines, then spreading eastward to the great plain of Siddim, which is now covered by the southern portion of the Dead Sea, but which, at the time this narrative was written, was occupied by the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim. This statement shows that this chapter must have been written at least as early as the time of Abraham. The location of Lasha is unknown, although Jerome, and others following him, identify it with Callirhoe, north-east of the Dead Sea. But there are no remains there, and the identification is doubtful.(Whedon)
Genesis 13:10-12 - Lot settles in Sodom
“Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere–this was before the LORD destroyed  Sodom and Gomorrah  like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar. So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as  Sodom .”
Explanation: Lot seems to have had nothing in view but his temporal convenience and advantage. His flocks and herds were already too numerous, and his substance too great; and yet he wishes them to be still more enlarged, and therefore makes the choice of this fertile and pleasant spot. He does not enquire into the character of the inhabitants, nor consider what sort of society he should find there; nor does he appear to express any reluctance at leaving Abram’s family, and losing the benefit of his conversation, counsel, and instructions. God, however, in the course of his providence, disappointed his views and expectations, and he soon had cause to repent of his choice..(Joseph Benson)
Genesis 14:1-12 - The war between the 4 kings and the 5 kings
“And it came about in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, that they made war with Bera king of  Sodom , and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). All these came as allies to the valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea). Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but the thirteenth year they rebelled. In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim and the Zuzim in Ham and the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, and the Horites in their Mount Seir, as far as El-paran, which is by the wilderness. Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and conquered all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, who lived in Hazazon-tamar. And the king of  Sodom and the king of Gomorrah and the king of Admah and the king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) came out; and they arrayed for battle against them in the valley of Siddim, against Chedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim and Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar–four kings against five. Now the valley of Siddim was full of tar pits; and the kings of  Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and they fell into them But those who survived fled to the hill country. Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food supply, and departed. They also took Lot, Abram’s nephew, and his possessions and departed, for he was living in  Sodom .”
ExplanationThis chapter begins with four kings war against five kings who were ruling the plains of Jordan. They all went into battle and the four kings conquered Sodom and Gomorrah, taking all the goods and people. The bad news for the four kings is that Abram’s nephew, Lot, was among them. When the news reached Abram, he armed his men to go get his nephew. Abram is identified as a Hebrew in this chapter and he goes to battle with just 300 servants of his against 4 kings and recovers Lot and the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah. This is where the story gets interesting. In his triumphant return, he is met by one Melchizedek, who is the King of Salem. King Melchizedek, also a High Priest, brought bread and wine, which is a key symbol in the Christian world, and King Melchizedek blessed Abram by the Most High God. (Bible Study Ministry)
Jeremiah 23:14 - The profit uses Sodom as an example of total destruction
“Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: The committing of adultery and walking in falsehood; And they strengthen the hands of evildoers, So that no one has turned back from his wickedness All of them have become to Me like  Sodom , And her inhabitants like  Gomorrah .”
Explanation:  the prophets of Jerusalem, while professing a pure faith, have followed the ways, and become as corrupt as the prophets of Samaria. Incorrigible, brutish sinners, who will as surely be destroyed as Sodom and Gomorrah were. (Clarke)
Amos 4:11 - The profit uses Sodom as an example of total destruction
“I overthrew you, as God overthrew  Sodom and Gomorrah , And you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze; Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD”
Explanation: In the destruction of your cities I have shown my judgments as signally as I did in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; and those of you that did escape were as “brands plucked out of the fire;” if not consumed, yet much scorched. And as the judgment was evidently from my hand, so was the deliverance; “and yet ye have not returned unto me, saith the Lord. (Clarke)

New Testament:

Matthew 10:15 - Sodom as an example of the ultimate punishment
“Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of  Sodom and Gomorrah  in the day of judgment than for that city.”
Explanation: In the day of judgment. Sodom and Gomorrah had both been destroyed by fire from heaven, and the gloomy waters of the Dead Sea were spread over the place where these cities stood. Our Savior, therefore, instead of representing that the sorrows and sufferings of this life are the sole penalty of human guilt, taught that even Sodom and Gomorrah were awaiting a terrible retribution to come. (Abbott)
2 Peter 2:6-9 - False Teachers and Their Destruction
“and if He condemned the cities of  Sodom and Gomorrah  to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men” (Full Text)
Explanation: False teachers will arise. If God did not spare angels then he knows how to punish the unrighteous. They are slaves of corruption. (Full Explanation)
Biblical Story: The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
The area around Mount Sodom is also the setting of the Sodom and Gomorrah story (Genesis 18-19 Full text).
One day, God appears to Abraham in the form of three men.  The men traveled towards the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah to destroy the cities because of their wickedness and corruption. Abraham pleads on the cities’ behalf, convincing the Lord not to destroy the cities if only a handful of good people can be found there. The messengers enter the city of Sodom, and Lot welcomes them into his home. Night falls, and the men of the city surround Lot’s home, wishing to rape the three messengers. The messengers persuade Lot to flee the city with his family, telling him and his family not to look back as they leave. However, as God rains down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot’s wife looks back at her home and she turned into a pillar of salt. (Full Commentary)

Listen to Genesis 18 & 19 – The destruction of  Sodom and Gomorrah

Geography:

Mount Sodom is a relatively young mountain that began its rise only a few hundreds of thousands of years ago and still continues to grow taller now at a rate of 3.5 millimeters (0.14 Inch) a year.
Earth Movements, pressing down on the layers of salt, created Mount Sodom. It is composed of 80% salt, capped by a thin layer of limestone and clay. It rises 260  meters above the Dead Sea and creates a unique landscape scenery of bright white soil penetrated by winding crevices.

Typical Creek at Mount Sdom
Creek in mount Sodom by Hoshvilim [Creative Commons]
MOUNT SODOM SALT CAVES
KAYAKING TOUR IN THE SEA OF GALILEE

The mountain is perforated with about 150 salt caves. It is the largest concentration of salt caves on the planet. The caves feature amazing salt formations. Most of the caves are closed to the public due to the constant danger of rock collapsing. A few of them are open for visits and can be accessed only by rappelling through “Salt chimneys”.

Join us for an unforgettable underground adventureEXPLORE MORE

Sdom Cave, Dead Sea, Israel
Sodom Cave by Wilson [Creative Commons]
Join us for an unforgettable underground adventureEXPLORE MORE


HIKE DESCRIPTION:
  • Start  Climbing on the ‡Blue‡ marked trail (1). follow it for a total of 1.4 Km, The initial climb is steep but then the trail makes a sharp left and levels. We have now on our right the cliffs of mount Sodom and on our left the scenery of the southern area of the Dead Sea. 
  • After a few hundred meters the trail makes a sharp right turn and resumes climbing until a junction with a ‡Red‡ marked trail coming from the right. (2)
  • Turn Right with the ‡Red‡ markers for a short but steep climb to the top of a hill and a great view-point. A perfect spot for an extended break to rest from the climb and enjoy the panoramic view. It is also the perfect spot to tell the story of Sodom and Gomorrah that occurred in the valley just below us thousands of years ago. 
View from Mount Sdom
View from Mount Sodom by Marina Markus  [Creative Commons]
           

  • Descend on the other side of the hill and turn right back on the  ‡Blue‡ marked trail.
Those who want to shorten the trip can continue straight with the ‡Red‡ markers directly to point (5) and “save” 3  Kilometers. (But miss and exciting section of the hike!!
  • The trail now traverses the relatively flat summit of mount Sodom giving us a chance to explore its unique landscape. After about one kilometer, just before the trail makes a sharp left turn, we reach another fantastic viewpoint towards the Dead Sea and the Moav mountains across the border in Jordan.
Mount Sdom Hiking Map
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  • Continue on the ‡Blue‡ marked trail and after a few hundred meters it will begin to descend on the other side of the mountain until we meet a wide dirt road (3)
  • Turn left on the dirt road and continue following ‡Blue‡ markers for 1.3 Km, until reaching a junction of dirt roads. (4) 
  • Turn left on the ‡Black‡ marked dirt road and start climbing east. After about a Kilometer you reach a junction with a #Red# marked trail (5). (The short version rejoins here).
  • Continue with the ‡Black‡ markers for another 0.8 Km until a parking area and an organized lookout point.
250 steps going down from Mount Sdom
Steps descending mount Sodom [Creative Commons]
  • The dirt road now becomes a trail and start descending the cliff back to the main road #90. The steep sections are equipped with wooden steps and metal ladders.
  • After going down about 250 steps and 3 ladders we reach the main road (6).
  • Turn left and walk along the main road (On its left side) about 2.5 Km back to the starting point (1).
  • After about 1.7 Km we can spot to our left the famous “Lot’s wife” rock pillar associated with the location where Lot’s wife looked back, and was turned into a pillar of salt.

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