When I was in Israel on Taglit (Birthright), my bus chose to not climb Masada in the morning. They wanted to stay up later in the "Bedouin" camp. That group wanted to hike later in the day. So I was really excited when Kaitlin said that she wanted to get up at 5:15 to climb the mountain for sunrise.
It was totally worth getting up so early in the morning!
We were at the gate to start climbing at 5:45 in the morning and it was pitch black. We couldn't find the path right away, but there were two large Taglit groups that went ahead of us, so we could follow them on the path. As we were climbing the sun started to rise.
The fog of the morning prevented us from seeing the entire sunrise as we were climbing, but we stopped during the hike to watch it. After about 50 minutes of walking up the "Snake Path", the winding path that takes you up the back side of the mountain, we made it to the top of the mountain.
After a 350 meter vertical climb that takes almost 2 kilometers and 700 stairs we made it in time to see the sun break over the top of the fog of the morning.
The top of the mountain was the same as I remembered. There are some really cool remnants from the Herodian Palaces and the fortress that sits atop the mountain. We wandered around for a few hours before going back down the snake path to get back to the hostel.
Walking down was harder to me than climbing up to the top of the mountain. It's hard on my knees and my calves, but it was a good workout. I would suggest that you make the effort to climb Masada for sunrise. It is absolutely beautiful!