One of the world’s stranger geological formations, Mt Sodom (summit elevation: 176m below sea level) is made almost entirely of rock salt, a highly soluble material that in any other climate would have melted away. Two trails head down Mt Sodom's steep flanks from a lookout point, reachable by 4WD, whose views are at their best in the late afternoon.
Mt Sodom is 250m high, 11km long and up to 2km wide. Ma’aleh HaSulamot (Ladders Ascent; 1½ hours to walk down), named after its many stairs, connects with Rte 90 across the highway from the sun-blasted huts of the Dead Sea Works’ first workers’ camp, built in 1934. Another descent to Rte 90 is Shvil HaDagim (Fishes Trail; 1½ hours down), so named because of the many fossilised fish you can see in the rocks.
Over the millennia the area’s rare rainfalls have dissolved some of Mt Sodom's salt content, creating deep in the bowels of the mountain a maze of caves (closed to the public) up to 5.5km long, some of them filled with delicate, eerie salt stalactites. Many are connected to the surface by shafts that hikers need to be careful they don’t fall into.
West of Mt Sodom, Wadi Sodom is ideal for mountain biking. If you start at the top (accessible by 4WD), it’s about two hours, mostly downhill, to the Neve Zohar area. A round-trip circuit that connects with beautiful Wadi Pratzim (Wadi Perazim), whose upper reaches pass the famous Flour Cave (closed to the public), is another option.