Day trip to Masada and Dead Sea

When planning the trip we figured to hike up to Masada in the pre-dawn light along the hiking trail called the Snake Path and watch the sunrise from atop the legendary fortress It is said the that during the First Jewish-Roman War the Jewish defenders commited mass suicide rather than be captured by the Romans. Our plans were dashed when we learned that in order to be there that early, we would either need to stay near Masada overnight (expensive), join a special sunrise tour (expensive), or drive three hours along highway 90 in early morning (considered unsafe due to poor visibility and complete lack of lighting). Our alternative plan is to rent a car for a day, driving to Masada and see Dead Sea on the way.