5 Tips To Avoid Altitude Sickness Smoky Mountains

Altitude Sickness Smoky Mountains

If you are traveling to the Smoky Mountains, you might be worried about altitude sickness. Based on our years of high altitude experience, we'll share with you our top researched tips to avoid altitude sickness smoky mountains.

Smoky Mountains Altitude

Smoky Mountains altitude goes as high as 6,643 feet (2,025 m) above sea level.¹

The Smoky Mountains are a mountain range in between Tennessee and North Carolina, just a few hours from Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Asheville. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited national park in the United States, with more than 14 million visitors each year.

Smoky Mountains altitude can range based on what part you're traveling to:

  • Smoky Mountains highest altitude - 6,643 ft (2,025 m)
  • Pigeon Forge altitude - 1,001 ft (305 m)
  • Gatlinburg altitude - 1,289 ft (392 m)
  • Mount LeConte altitude - 6,593 ft (2,010 m)
  • Clingmans Dome altitude - 6,643 ft (2,025 m)
Keep reading to learn more about the possible effects of altitude sickness at these Smoky Mountain elevations.

Can You Get Altitude Sickness In The Smoky Mountains?

If you're planning a trip and wondering whether you can get altitude sickness in the Smoky Mountains, the answer is yes.

While many areas of the Smoky Mountains may have no risk of altitude sickness, when you get to places like Mountain LeConte and Clingmans Dome at over 6,500 feet, altitude sickness can become an issue.

While even places as low as 5,000 feet like Denver can cause mild symptoms of altitude sickness, according to University of Michigan, altitude sickness can start at altitudes above 6,000 feet.²

Based on these facts, you can get altitude sickness in certain areas of the Smoky Mountains.

Altitude Sickness Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), occurs when your body has trouble adjusting to the lower amount of oxygen in the air.

The Smoky Mountains, which have an elevation ranging from around 875 to 6,643 feet, are not especially high compared to other mountain ranges. However, if you are coming from a lower elevation, you may still be at risk for altitude sickness.

The symptoms of Smoky Mountains altitude sickness may develop within 24 hours. These may include headache, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.

Smoky Mountains altitude sickness symptoms:

  • headache
  • nausea or vomiting 
  • dizziness
  • difficulty breathing
  • fatigue
  • malaise or feeling sick
  • loss of appetite
  • feeling of weakness
  • difficulty sleeping

With the risk of altitude sickness in the Smoky Mountains, it's best to be prepared to help avoid it.

Is It Harder To Breathe In The Smoky Mountains?

At the higher altitudes of the Smoky Mountains, the air is thinner and contains less oxygen, which can make it feel harder to breathe.

This is because the atmospheric pressure is lower at higher elevations, so there is less oxygen in the air that you breathe. At the high points of the Smoky Mountains at over 6,000 feet, the oxygen levels can be around 5% lower than at sea level.³

The symptoms of altitude sickness, which can include shortness of breath, can be caused by this lack of oxygen.

If you are coming from a lower elevation, you may notice that it feels harder to breathe in the Smoky Mountains, especially if you are engaging in physical activity. This is normal and should improve as your body adjusts to the altitude.

5 Tips To Avoid Altitude Sickness Smoky Mountains

If you plan to visit the breathtakingly beautiful park called the Smoky Mountains, altitude sickness could ruin your trip fast.

Based on our years of experience with altitude sickness out of Colorado, we'll share our best tips to avoid altitude sickness in the Smoky Mountains.

Here are five tips that can help you avoid altitude sickness Smoky Mountains:

1. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is important when you are at high altitude, as the elevations in the Smoky Mountains can lead to increase respiration and fluid loss.

Dehydration can make altitude sickness worse, and lead to similar symptoms such as headache and fatigue.

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, which also improves your body's ability to oxygenate.⁴ To stay hydrated, experts recommend to drink at least 64 ounces (2 liters) of water per day, and more if engaging in physical activity or if the weather is hot.

TIP: To maximize hydration, add sea salt to your food/drink and take Zaca chewables to help increase water absorption.

2. Avoid Strenuous Activity

Avoiding strenuous activity while you are acclimatizing to high altitudes in the Smoky Mountains can help your body adjust more easily.

When you are at high altitude, the air is thinner and contains less oxygen, which can make it harder to breathe. Engaging in physical activity such as hiking can increase the demand for oxygen, which can make it even harder to breathe and may worsen the symptoms of altitude sickness.

If you do decide to engage in physical activity while at high altitude, it's important to start slowly and listen to your body. Take breaks as needed and stop if you start to feel unwell. It's also a good idea to avoid overexertion.

In general, it's a good idea to give yourself plenty of time to acclimatize to the altitude before attempting any strenuous activity. Give it at least 24 hours of showing no signs of altitude sickness.

3. Get Plenty Of Rest

Getting plenty of rest is important when you are at the Smoky Mountains, as the thin air and lack of oxygen can be physically and mentally demanding.

Allowing yourself plenty of time to rest and sleep during the first few days at high altitude can help your body recover from the effects of altitude and reduce your risk of developing altitude sickness. OrthoCarolina also points out that that sleep can help with oxygen in the cells, and therefore speed up recovery.⁷

To get the most rest, try to get a good night's sleep by following a consistent sleep schedule and creating a sleep-friendly environment. This may include setting a comfortable temperature, reducing noise and light, and avoiding caffeine as it can disrupt your sleep.

Most experts recommend 7-9 hours of sleep for maximum rest.

4. Limit Alcohol

Limiting your alcohol intake while at high altitude can help reduce your risk of negative symptoms.

Alcohol can interfere with your body's ability to acclimatize to the altitude and can also contribute to dehydration. Dehydration can make the symptoms of altitude sickness worse, as symptoms of a hangover including headache and nausea are very similar.

In general, it's a good idea to drink alcohol in moderation while at high altitude, at least your first few days. This may mean limiting yourself to one or two drinks per day, or avoiding alcohol altogether.

5. Supplement Glutathione

Glutathione is a substance that is produced naturally by the body and is important for a number of functions, including supporting the immune system and acting as an antioxidant.

Evidence shows that supplementing with glutathione helps protect against oxidative stress, which can occur at high altitudes.

  • A study from India showed glutathione to deplete at high altitude by up to 45%.⁶
Supplement glutathione to replenish your glutathione levels, boost antioxidants, and fight off oxidative stress.

To conclude, follow these top researched tips to avoid altitude sickness Smoky Mountains — including staying hydrated, avoiding strenuous activity, getting plenty of rest, limiting alcohol, and supplementing glutathione.

Top Altitude Supplement

Altitude Sickness Smoky Mountains
Zaca chewables are the perfect supplement for any adventurer looking to maximize their travel experience. These chewables have been specially formulated to help you rehydrate, replenish, and recover faster. Made with natural ingredients including glutathione, this can boost your body's antioxidant abilities. Simply take 2-4 chewables a day during travel, or when needed. Try Zaca Chewables today and maximize your physical performance.










1. Great Smoky Mountains
2. Altitude Sickness University Of Michigan Health Service
3. Oxygen Levels at Altitude
4. Tips to Boost Your Oxygen Saturation Level at Home
5. Sleep: The Secret Ingredient of Injury Recovery
6. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione