Altitude Sickness Rocky Mountain National Park: Must-Read 5 Tips

Altitude Sickness Rocky Mountain National Park

When visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, it's important to be prepared for altitude sickness that can ruin your trip. As a local based Colorado company, we share everything you need to know about altitude Rocky Mountain National Park and 5 must-read tips to avoid altitude sickness Rocky Mountain National Park.

Altitude Rocky Mountain National Park

Altitude at Rocky Mountain National Park starts at 7,860 feet (2,396 m) in elevation above sea level.¹ This is considered one of the highest national parks in the United States.

Rocky Mountain National Park altitude:

  • Rocky Mountain National Park altitude - 7,860 feet (2,396 m)

These high elevations of Rocky Mountain National Park are just the beginning, the altitude gets to 14,259 feet (4,346 m) high at Longs Peak.

Highest and lowest Rocky Mountain National Park elevations:

  • Lowest elevation in Rocky Mountain National Park - 7,860 feet (2,396 m)
  • Highest elevation in Rocky Mountain National Park - 14,259 feet (4,346 m)

    Altitude of Rocky Mountain National Park mountains:²

    • Longs Peak altitude - 14,258 ft (4,346 m)
    • Twin Sisters Peaks altitude - 11,427 ft (3482 m)
    • Estes Cone altitude - 11,007 ft (3354 m)
    • Flattop Mountain altitude - 12,326 ft (3,757 m)
    • Hallett Peak altitude - 12,598 ft (3,840 m)
    • Mount Chapin altitude - 12,438 ft (3,791 m)
    • Lead Mountain altitude - 12,474 ft (3,802 m)
    • Deer Mountain altitude - 10,013 ft (3051 m)
    • Ypsilon Mountain altitude - 13,520 ft (4,121 m)
    • Eagle Cliff Mountain altitude - 8906 ft (2715 m)
    • Sharkstooth Peak altitude - 12,411 ft (3,783 m)

      The altitude at which you'll see snow-capped peaks, alpine meadows and forests of ponderosa pines in Rocky Mountain National Park varies greatly depending on the season and your location.

      Rocky Mountain National Park is a United States National Park located in the central Rocky Mountains, north of Denver, Colorado. The park is situated between the towns of Estes Park to the east and Grand Lake to the west. The Continental Divide cuts directly through the park as well.

      You'll want to be well prepared for these high altitudes at Rocky Mountain National Park.

      Will I Get Altitude Sickness In Rocky Mountain National Park?

      Yes, you can get altitude sickness in Rocky Mountain National Park.

      The elevation in the park ranges from 7,860 feet to 14,259 feet (2,396 m to 4,347 m). Altitude medicine considers these heights in two of its three altitude regions, as both high altitude and very high altitude.³

      Rocky Mountain National Park altitude can cause problems for some people who aren't accustomed to the change in air pressure, known as altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness. Rocky Mountain Hiking Trails states that 75% of people in altitudes above 10,000 feet will experience mild symptoms of altitude sickness.⁴

      If you're planning a trip, read our top tips below to avoid Rocky Mountain National Park altitude sickness.

      Altitude Sickness Rocky Mountain National Park

      Altitude Sickness Rocky Mountain National Park occurs primarily due to the lower oxygen levels at high altitudes of 7,860 feet and higher.

      Between the lower oxygen levels, physiological stress, increased respiration, and dry climate  ─ altitude sickness be be a real problem at Rocky Mountain National Park. It can lead to shortness of breath, headache, nausea and fatigue in those who are not acclimated.

      Rocky Mountain National Park altitude sickness symptoms may include:

      • headaches
      • nausea or vomiting
      • shortness of breath or trouble breathing
      • sleeping issues or insomnia 
      • feeling sick or malaise
      • fatigue or tiredness
      • loss of appetite

        The higher the altitude in Rocky Mountain National Park depending what you do and where you visit, the less oxygen there is in the air. If coming from sea level, these symptoms can be even more extreme.

        5 Tips To Avoid Rocky Mountain National Park Altitude Sickness

        While the beauty is breathtaking, altitude sickness can be an issue for anyone who travels to the Rocky Mountain National Park, and even worse if you're from sea level.

        If you are planning on hiking, driving or adventuring into Rocky Mountain National Park or Colorado's mountains, you'll want to know how to best avoid altitude sickness. 

        As a company based in Colorado, we'll share all our best tips to avoid Rocky Mountain National Park altitude sickness.

        Here's 5 Tips To Avoid Altitude Sickness Rocky Mountain National Park:

        1. Acclimate Gradually

        Many people who visit Colorado’s high-altitude areas do not realize that altitude changes can affect them until they are already feeling sick or tired.

        One of the best ways to avoid altitude sickness is to gradually increase your body’s exposure to higher altitudes over several days, rather than immediately arriving at a mountain destination.

        To do this specifically for Rocky Mountain National Park altitude sickness, you can stay a night or two in Denver first. At 5280 feet in elevation, Denver is a good location to start acclimating for out-of-state visitors before heading to the Rocky Mountains.

        Next, many visitors will popularly stay in Estes Park when going to Rocky Mountain National Park. If you stay a night in Estes Park at 7,522 feet in altitude, this further allow your body to gradually acclimate.

        Taking these steps and extra time will help your body better acclimatize before heading to the extreme elevations at Rocky Mountain National Park.

        2. Hydrate Yourself

        Dehydration is one of the most common contributors of altitude sickness, so it’s important to drink plenty of water and fluids while you are at high elevations.

        The air is dry in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park, and the high altitude will cause increased respiration leading to further loss of fluids.

        Visitors of Colorado tend neglect hydrating enough and not realizing they're dehydrated before it's too late. Drink ample amounts of water before and during your trip, while also avoiding sugary drinks which can actually be dehydrating.

        According to experts, drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. The day you visit Rocky Mountain National Park or if you're outside hiking, drink even more water as strenuous exercise and high altitudes require more hydration.

        TIP: Add sea salt to your food/water, or take Zaca's hydration chewables to maximize hydration.

        3. Rest & Take It Easy

        Avoid strenuous exercise until you've adjusted to the altitude — especially when you first arrive at your Rocky Mountain National Park destination or first night in Estes Park.

        Get plenty of rest during this time as well because it will help you adjust and recover faster too. If possible, try to sleep as much as possible, at least 7 hours. This is critical to your body acclimating.

        It can take 6-24 hours usually to experience altitude sickness symptoms. If you are experiencing any symptoms, resting and taking it easy is essential for recovery from this condition.

        Once you know you're clear of any altitude sickness symptoms, may you resume to increasing your activity levels.

        4. Limit Alcohol

        Alcohol consumption won't only dehydrate you further, it also increases your risk of getting sick.

        Alcohol and altitude sickness are a bad recipe together — where symptoms can be very similar including headache, nausea, and exhaustion.

        Limit your alcohol intake while exploring the park or at least on your first day so that your body doesn't have to work harder than necessary when processing alcohol and fighting physiological stress from the high altitudes.

        5. Take Altitude Supplements

        Altitude supplements are an effective solution to the altitude of Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado.

        While commonly underutilized, products such as altitude adjustment pills or altitude sickness tablets can help fuel your body with the right mountain nutrients.

        One ingredients alone, glutathione, is a vital nutrient for ascending altitudes.

        • Glutathione - Also called the body's master antioxidant, this amino acid is shown to deplete up to 45% in high altitudes.
        Taking a glutathione supplement and other altitude supplements can help fight the oxidative stress at the altitudes of Rocky Mountain National Park.

        In conclusion, to avoid altitude sickness Rocky Mountain National Park ─ acclimate gradually, hydrate yourself, rest and take it easy, limit alcohol, and take altitude supplements.

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        1. Rocky Mountain National Park
        2. List of peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park
        3. Effects of high altitude on humans
        4. Altitude Sickness in the Rocky Mountains
        5. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione