Egypt is well known for its breathtaking pyramids and history but it’s also an outdoor lovers dream. Hundreds of people make the trek up Mount Sinai every day. Some do it in the name of religion, others do for love of the outdoors. Whatever your reason, Mount Sinai should be a bucket list hike destination.
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Mount Sinai Hiking Stats
- Hiking Distance: 11.5 km (7.15 mi) out and back.
- Duration: 4.5-6 hours total.
- Elevation: 700 m (2,296 ft) total elevation gain | 2,285 m (7,497 ft) max elevation.
- Difficulty: Moderate
Religious History of Mount Sinai
All of the Abrahamic faiths hold Mount Sinai in high esteem. They all believe that Prophet Moses/Musa/Moshe received divine message on Mount Sinai. Many come to Mount Sinai as religious pilgrims. It was beautiful to see Muslims, Christians, and Jews praying together.There’s a church and an open mosque located at the top. Saint Catharine Monastery is the usual next stop for people visiting Mount Sinai.
Is the Top of Mount Sinai Burnt?
This is a common question due to the religious belief that Mount Sinai is where the burning bush incident took place. The top of Mount Sinai is dark in color as compared to other parts of the mountain. Some believe it is due to the fire explained in the Holy Qu’ran, Bible, and Torah. Secular explorers often consider the color difference is due to a chemical reaction.
Where to Stay in Mount Sinai
The best place to stay when doing the Mt.Sinai hike is Sharm El Sheikh or Dahab. Dahab is about 2 hours from Mount Sinai and Sharm El Sheikh is about 3 hours away. Both cities offer guided tours. A tour guide is mandatory so you won’t be able to do this hike solo. Cairo is quite far from Mt. Sinai and not an ideal day trip although you can find lodging close by. It’s not an ideal place to stay for more than 2 days though.
Best Time To Visit
Most begin the hike around midnight to catch the beautiful sunrise and morning prayer (fajr). Mount Sinai is open all year but spring is the ideal time to go because of the tolerable weather and gorgeous plants. It can get chilly on the summit so bring a jacket.The summer heat is brutal but doable if you start at night. Being on the mountain during the day is not advised but you’ll have the advantage of mostly being alone. Climbing Mount Sinai during the winter also has its advantages. You can hike any time of day. Plus, you may even see snow at the top!
What Should You Bring to Hike Mount Sinai
In the words of Erykah Badu, “Pack light”.
- Bring a few snacks and at least 2 liters of water. You can also buy snacks, coffee, and tea on the mountain for a premium.
- Wearing a jacket is a must during the winter but there are vendors selling winter gear at the base if you don’t want to bring one from home.
- Since most people do the hike at night, a hiking torch would be beneficial.
- Make sure to bring Egyptian pounds. It costs about 5 Egyptian pounds to use the bathroom.
- The bathrooms I experienced were absolutely horrific. You’ll definitely want a light source and napkins.
- Pack a camera and tripod because the view is sublime
- Sleeping bag if camping overnight.
- A hiking stick is super useful. The hiking trail is a bit slippery. I may or may not have slipped a few times.