3 Tips To Avoid Banff Altitude Sickness

Banff Altitude Sickness

If you are planning to visit the Banff area and aren't sure what to expect when it comes to altitude sickness, here are the top tips that will make your visit much more enjoyable to avoid Banff altitude sickness.

Banff Altitude

Banff altitude sits at an elevation of 4,537 feet (1,383 meters) above sea level. As a resort town in Alberta, it's considered the highest town in Canada located within Banff National Park.

  • Banff altitude 4,537 feet (1,383 m)

Not only is the altitude of Banff high, it's just the baseline of elevation for the area. The mountains and ski resorts in the surrounding areas exceed the altitude of the town of Banff.

Called the Big 3 Ski Resorts, there's three ski mountains with higher top elevations that include:

  • Banff Mt Norquay - 6,998 feet (2,133 m)
  • Sunshine Village altitude - 8,957 feet (2,730 m)
  • Lake Louise altitude -  8,650 feet (2,637 m)

Banff, while a beautiful place to stay, you should be well prepared for the high altitude risks and altitude sickness.

Is Banff Considered High Altitude?

By the categorization of mountain medicine based on oxygen levels, high altitude is considered 4,900–11,500 feet (1,500–3,500 m).²

At 4,537 feet high, Banff is just below the high altitude region. However, it's high enough in altitude to still have a risk of experiencing mild altitude symptoms and is part of the Rocky Mountain range.

At What Height Do You Feel Altitude Sickness?

A height of 8,000 feet or higher is most popularly stated to carry a high risk of altitude sickness.¹

That being said, lower altitudes can still cause altitude sickness, while risk levels vary based many factors such as health, age, and previous high altitude exposure.

For example, in our city of Denver at 5,280 feet high, many visitors can still experience mild symptoms of altitude sickness. With Banff altitude close to Denver altitude and both part of the Rocky Mountains, this proves that you can still be at risk for altitude sickness.

What Causes Altitude Sickness?

Altitude sickness is caused mainly due to lower oxygen levels at high elevations, including all the physiological stress put on the body.

Also known as acute mountain sickness, these describe the effects of high altitude on the body. People may experience shortness of breath, dizziness, and nausea.

Altitude sickness symptoms:

  • headaches
  • nausea
  • shortness of breath
  • insomnia or sleeping issues
  • fatigue or tiredness
  • dizziness
  • loss of appetite
  • malaise 

These are the altitude sickness symptoms you should look out for when visiting Banff.

3 Tips To Avoid Banff Altitude Sickness

While Banff has is a beautiful place where people can come to experience mountain life such as skiing and hiking, the elevation of Banff can still cause altitude sickness in some visitors.

From headaches, shortness of breath, and feelings of malaise altitude sickness can really set your Banff trip back.

As a company based out of the Rocky Mountains, we'll share our top tips with you to help avoid Banff altitude sickness.

Here's 3 tips to avoid Banff altitude sickness:

1. Take It Easy & Acclimate

When you first arrive in Banff, give yourself time to adjust to the lower oxygen level in the air before attempting any strenuous activities. Altitude sickness can take around 24 hours to show, so wait at least this much time to make sure you're not experiencing any symptoms.

If you're visiting any of the big 3 ski resorts ━ Banff Mt Norquay, Sunshine Village, or Lake Louise ━ it's best to spend at least one night in town before heading out on hikes or going to ski. Your body needs time to gradually acclimate itself to this change in elevation, as the peaks of these mountains with elevations as much as 8,650 feet (2,637 m) can far exceed the base elevation of Banff.

It's also important to rest up before you go – especially if you’re coming from sea level. And get ample sleep when you arrive at Banff. This will help your body adjust to the change in elevation better, as sleep and resting give your body the ability to recover faster.

2. Hydrate Sufficiently

Hydration seems so simple, but most fail at it. This is because at higher altitudes like Banff, respiration increases and the dry, cold air causes a higher rate of fluid loss.

Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration, which can lead to headaches and other symptoms to make your condition worse. It’s recommended by experts that you drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water.
Also limit alcohol intake, which can further dehydrate you and lower your sleep quality, until you know you're clear of altitude sickness.

TIP: To maximize hydration, add sea salt to your water and food or take Zaca's hydration tablets.

3. Take Altitude Supplements

From altitude adjustment pills to altitude adjustment packets, altitude supplements can fuel your body with mountain-friendly ingredients.

Most people don't realize that high elevations can actually deplete nutrients in the body, and cause a lot of oxidative stress in the body.³

In our years of research, we've found specific nutrients that are safe and effective for high altitude travel.

2 nutrients with altitude research:

1. Glutathione - This master antioxidant was shown to deplete at high altitudes when you need it most, up to 45%.³ Supplementing can help refuel your glutathione levels and boost antioxidants to fight free radical damage.

2. Glutamine - It's known that fatigue can be a major symptom of altitude, where glutamine displayed anti-fatigue and hydration properties in a study.⁴ Further, it was even shown to boost cognition at high altitudes.⁵

These two powerful amino acids, glutathione and glutamine, can power your body with the nutrients for high altitude conditions.

This concludes our best, science-backed tips to avoid Banff altitude sickness.

Favorite Altitude Supplement

Favorite Altitude Supplement
Zaca is a favorite supplement because it’s easy to take, effective, and fast acting. Zaca’s super concentrated formula is designed to power you while traveling and at high altitudes. Made to fortify your body with glutathione and glutamine, amoung with other supporting nutrients to help you feel better. Rehydrate, replenish, and recover faster with these chewables. Simply take 1-2 packets a day, before and during your trip. Try Zaca Chewables today and power your mountain trips.







1. Altitude sickness
2. Effects of high altitude on humans
3. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione
4. Glutamine as an Anti-Fatigue Amino Acid in Sports Nutrition
5. The Possible Importance of Glutamine Supplementation to Mood and Cognition in Hypoxia from High Altitude
6. Banff, Alberta