Steps of Repentance


The alternative path to Mt Sinai's summit comprises the taxing 3750 Steps of Repentance, which begin outside the southeastern corner of St Catherine's Monastery compound. They were laid by one monk as a form of penance. The steps – 3000 up to Elijah’s Basin and then the final 750 to the summit – are made of roughly hewn rock, and are steep and uneven in many places, requiring strong knees and concentration in placing your feet.

The stunning mountain scenery along the way makes this path well worth the extra effort and the lower reaches of the trail afford impressive views of the monastery.

For those who want to try both routes to Mt Sinai's summit, it’s easier to take the camel trail on the way up and the steps on the way back down. The steps shouldn’t be attempted in the dark though, so those heading to the summit for sunset and not staying overnight should go up via the steps and come down the easier camel trail.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Sinai attractions

1. St Catherine's Monastery

0.15 MILES

This ancient monastery traces its founding to about AD 330, when Byzantine empress Helena had a small chapel and a fortified refuge for local hermits…

2. Burning Bush

0.15 MILES

It’s possible to see what is thought to be a descendant of the original burning bush in the St Catherine's Monastery compound; however, because of…

3. Church of the Transfiguration

0.16 MILES

Inside St Catherine's Monastery, this ornately decorated 6th-century church has a nave flanked by marble columns and walls covered in richly gilded icons…

4. Monastery Museum

0.17 MILES

Above the Well of Moses in St Catherine's Monastery is the superb Monastery Museum, which has been magnificently restored. It has displays (labelled in…

5. Mt Sinai

1.06 MILES

Known locally as Gebel Musa, Mt Sinai is revered by Christians, Muslims and Jews, all of whom believe that God delivered his Ten Commandments to Moses at…

6. Sheikh Awad

12.89 MILES

This spot amid the Sinai's high mountains is home to a sheikh’s tomb and Bedouin settlement. Due to the diverse mountain scenery on the trails leading…

7. St Katherine Protectorate

18.31 MILES

St Katherine's Protectorate encompasses a rugged landscape of high-altitude desert. Amid this national park, enclosed within stark mountains, is a wealth…

8. Gebel Serbal

24.72 MILES

To the south of Wadi Feiran, the 2070m Gebel Serbal (believed by early Christians to have been the real Mt Sinai) is a challenging six-hour hike to the…