Mount Sinai (Jebel Moussa) -- Most people start this walk about 3 or 4 hours before sunrise, timing it to arrive at the summit for the spectacular sunrise over the surrounding mountains. There are two ways up the 2,285m (7,500-ft.) mountain, both fairly easy to find from the base around the monastery. The first, which most people use for the ascent, is -- initially, at least -- a winding, gently sloped path that starts from behind the monastery. It's quite beautiful to see the thread of lights used by the walkers wending their way up the slope. A little more than about halfway up, at Elijah's Bowl, it turns to stairs (in fact, the last 750 of the Steps of Repentance), and if you're not in good shape, the final part of the climb on the narrow, crowded rock steps can be quite grueling. The other way, which many people use for the descent, is steeper and more direct. Known as the Steps of Repentance, it is comprised of 3,750 stone steps carved into the side of the mountain. It is sign-posted and easy to find, and from the top, it makes for a much quicker descent than going back the way you came up. Reckon on an hour for the descent this way.
A flashlight, plenty of water, a snack for the summit, and warm clothing are musts for this climb. Even in the summer, the nights are chilly, and in the winter it's downright cold. There are a good number of places on the way up to get a hot tea, mind you, and these places often have chocolate bars for sale. Keep in mind that the climb is pretty popular, and that the path as well as the summit itself can get pretty crowded in the hour leading up to dawn.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.