drive to Masada and Eilat

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Sep 24th, 2007, 01:11 PM
  #1
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drive to Masada and Eilat

I am planning a trip to Israel which will include a visit to Petra, via Eilat. I am thinking of driving from Jerusalem to Eilat, visiting Masada and the Dead Sea enroute.

Have any of you done this drive? I have some questions:

1. Does the drive consist of all 2-lane roads (2 lanes in each direction, so there is a passing lane), or is it mainly 1-lane roads?

2. Does the drive include steep mountain roads?

3. Would I be driving through politically dangerous areas?

4. About how long does this drive take, not including my stops to visit Masada and the Dead Sea?
JoyceL is offline  
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Sep 24th, 2007, 01:27 PM
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Hi Joyce,

I never driven this in a private car but have taken it in a public bus and tour bus several times.

The road is 2 lanes - 1 in each direction - and paved the entire way.

At no time, once you leave Jerusalem, are you in a politically dangerous area.

The drive does not include steep mountain roads though that is subject to interpretation. The road does does have hills here and there but there is nothing like the Going-to-the-Sun road in Glacier Nat'l Park here in the US. Hmmm, let's say that there is no engine groaning and heavy gear shifting at any time.

As far as how long the drive takes not including stops...gee, my guess would be 4 hours but you'd better double check me on that.

Good luck!
-doo
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Sep 25th, 2007, 12:24 AM
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eri
 
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Joyce,
Let me start by telling you that it is a beautiful drive not to be missed! All the roads going to Beer Sheva are 4 lanes (2 lanes each directions). Once you leave Beer Sheva to the south, it varies. Some are 4 some are 2. Traffic south of Beer Sheva is extremely light so it will not cause any problem for you.
You have 2 options driving from Jerusalem to Eilat: 1. Via Dead Sea (Ein Gedi, Masada, Sodom) 2. Via Beer Sheva (longer).
I would advise you to go once through the Dead Sea and Arava Road, and return via Ramon Crater and Beer Sheva. Beautiful desert route. In any case, don't even think of going through Hebron!!! This is the only dangerous route to avoid! Take the longer route that goes around.
Other than that the route is safe and pleasant. No problem at all.
Steep moutains - The only binding part of the road is the climb from the Dead Sea. I drive it without any problem. The road is excellent.
3. As I mentioned before, no dangerous areas on route. Just keep away from Jerusalem Hebron route!
4. How long? Very difficult question to answer. The problem is that you will want to stop in several places. But if you drive non-stop (and what a waiste this is!), I would say 3 hours thorough the Dead Sea, and more than 4 through Mizpe Ramon.
Take into account that there are lots of interesting places to stop on route!
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Sep 25th, 2007, 03:37 AM
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Eri and Doohickey: Thank you so much for your information. It is very helpful.
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Sep 25th, 2007, 03:43 AM
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Eri: I just realized I do not understand your comment about 4 hours through Mizpe Ramon. What is Mizpe Ramon, and where does it fit into this route? Are you saying a non-stop trip would take 7 hours (4 hours via the Dead Sea plus 3 more hours through Mizpe Ramon), and more than 7 hours if I stop to visit places?

This drive will be in one direction only, Jerusalem-to-Eilat. (My return trip will be via an airline.) I definitely want to visit Masada and the Dead Sea enroute.
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Sep 25th, 2007, 04:49 AM
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eri
 
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No, no, no!
Sorry for being not clear.
If you decide to go through Beer Sheva you have 2 options to continue from there. One option is driving through Dimona, down to close to the Dead Sea (but not actually reaching it), and from there on the Arava Road to Eilat. This would take you about 4 hours or a little longer (jerusalem - Beer Sheva - Dimona - Arava Road - Eilat)if you drive nonstop.
You could, however, take the other route from Beer Sheva to Eilat through Mizpe Ramon, which is a town in the middle of the desert just above the Ramon Crater, and from there through Shaharut Pass to Eilat. This is a longer route but more interesting. I would go this route at least one way. It is worth it.
The third option is to drive from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea (Ein Gedi, Massada, Sodom). From there to the Arava Road Junction(like on the first option). This will most probably be the quickest way.
My suggestion is:
Drive to Eilat through Beere Sheva -Mizpe Ramon - Shaharut - Eilat.
Drive back to Jerusalem through Arava Road - Arava Junction - Dead Sea - Jerusalem.
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Sep 25th, 2007, 05:16 AM
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I have just driven this route (Dead-Sea, Masada, Jerusalem) a week and a half ago.

The road is mostly 2 lane, some dangerous curves so be careful (as you do anywhere), but now where near as curvy as the Sodom-Arad road.

There was not much traffic, and the area is not politically dangerous at all (as is most of Israel).

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Sep 25th, 2007, 03:34 PM
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Thank you again for all this information. It is very helpful!
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Sep 26th, 2007, 05:26 AM
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One more thing, if you plan on climbing Masada's snake trail you have to get there early in the morning (unless it's winter) otherwise you can take the cable car and walk down.

I've done the snake trail in basic training (after walking 55 miles) and I ain't doing it again
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Sep 28th, 2007, 09:11 PM
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Seems like Joice will have to visit the Ramon Crater next time. Going down thru the Dead Sea, it makes much more sense (and faster) to keep going straight down south the Arava road to Eilat, even though going up to Be'er Sheva and down to Eilat thru Ramon -- is a lot more interesting....
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Sep 28th, 2007, 11:31 PM
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eri
 
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So why not do both those roads?
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Sep 29th, 2007, 06:21 PM
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...Because, as she posted: "My return trip will be via an airline."
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Sep 30th, 2007, 10:20 PM
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eri
 
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OOPS!
Sorry,
you are right!
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