Can You Get Altitude Sickness At 5000 Feet?

Can You Get Altitude Sickness At 5000 Feet

Contrary to popular belief, the risk of altitude sickness isn't confined solely to the highest peaks. As a Colorado company with years of high altitude experience, we’ll answer can you get altitude sickness at 5,000 feet, along with the top steps for avoiding altitude sickness.

Can You Get Altitude Sickness At 5000 Feet?

Yes, you can get altitude sickness at 5,000 feet.

In Denver at 5,280 feet high, visitors often struggle with the elevation including symptoms like headaches and nausea.

Travel Medicine Consultants states that altitude sickness actually starts at 4,000 feet,¹ which puts 5,000 feet well into the range of risk.

Places At 5,000 Feet Elevation

Along with our home city of Denver Colorado, many places are at 5,000 feet high.

Places At 5,000 Feet Elevation:

  • Denver altitude (Colorado) altitude - 5280 ft
  • Albuquerque (New Mexico) altitude - 5,312 ft
  • Glenwood Springs (Colorado) - 5,761 ft
  • Boulder (Colorado) altitude - 5,318 ft
  • Prescott (Arizona) altitude - 5,367 ft
  • Zion National Park Angels Landing (Utah) altitude - 5,770 ft
  • Beech Mountain (North Carolina) altitude - 5,506 ft
  • Johannesburg (South Africa) altitude - 5,751 ft
  • Medellin (Colombia) altitude - 5,000 ft

These cities all have high altitudes in common, and preparation should be taken when you visit!

How Common Is Altitude Sickness At 5000 Feet?

Minor symptoms of altitude sickness at 5,000 feet can be pretty common.

Dr. Ben Honigman of CU says 8% to 10% of Denver visitors get altitude sickness, which sits at 5,280 feet.² Based on experience we think the data is underestimating, as many people are fatigued, get headaches, and have trouble breathing when arriving in Denver, especially coming from sea level.

Altitude Sickness At 5,000 Feet

The main cause of altitude sickness at 5,000 feet is the lower oxygen levels. The higher you go the less oxygen is in the air, leading to physiological stress on the body.

Issues like oxidative stress, dehydration and other stresses on the body result in symptoms such as headaches and extreme fatigue.

Symptoms of altitude sickness at 5,000 feet:

  • Headache and dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Insomnia or sleeping issues
  • Feeling ill

Be on the lookout for these types of altitude sickness symptoms when you’re at 5,000 feet or higher. They usually show up within 6-24 upon arrival. Taking proper precautions is necessary to lessen your risk.

How Long Does It Take To Adjust To 5000 Feet Altitude?

While acclimation can vary based on each person and the height of elevation, sources on average say it takes 1-5 days to adjust

In this range of time is when you’re at the highest risk of altitude sickness as your body is working to acclimate.

Is 5000 Considered High Altitude?

Yes, 5,000 feet is considered high altitude.

High altitude starts at 4,900 feet according to Mountain Medicine.⁴ This puts the elevation of 5,000 feet at the beginnings of high elevations.

What Is The Oxygen Level At 5000 Feet?

There’s 17.3% effective oxygen found at 5,000 feet.⁵

At this elevation, it is about 17% to 18% lower oxygen levels than at sea level.

5 Steps To Avoid Altitude Sickness At 5000 Feet

Altitude sickness can cast a shadow on your adventures, even at 5000 feet. 

As a Colorado company based at 5,280 feet high, we have vast experience with these altitudes. We’ll share with you the best steps we’ve found to be effective for visitors.

Here’s 5 Steps To Avoid Altitude Sickness At 5000 Feet:

1. Take It Easy & Take Breaks

The excitement of reaching a new elevation such as 5,000 feet can sometimes lead to overenthusiastic activities. It's crucial to resist the temptation to overexert yourself. Pushing too hard can hinder your body’s ability to acclimate faster.

Incorporate plenty of rest breaks into your itinerary. Whether you're hiking, sightseeing, or engaging in any activity at 5000 feet, take many breaks to allow your body to recover and adjust.

2. Prioritize Hydration

At 5000 feet, the air is often drier, and your body loses more fluids through respiration. This is estimated to happen twice as fast than at sea level, leading to a high risk of dehydration.⁶

Ensure you drink plenty of water to stay well-hydrated. Experts recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces of water per day.

TIP: To enhance hydration, add sea salt to your water or food, and take Zaca’s hydration chewables that aid in water absorption and electrolyte intake.

3. Get Plenty Of Sleep

Lack of quality sleep can exacerbate issues at high altitudes. Sleep is shown to be key in recovery, and even aid in oxygen and blood flow.⁷

Adequate sleep is important, aim for at least 7-9 hours per night. During the day if you can get natural sunlight, this will also help your sleep by improving melatonin production at night.

4. Avoid Alcohol

While it might be tempting to celebrate your high-altitude visit with a drink, it's advisable to limit alcohol, especially during the initial days at 5000 feet.

Alcohol can contribute to dehydration and may compound symptoms like nausea and headaches.

5. Boost Antioxidants

The higher you go up in altitude, like at 5,000 feet, the more your body will deal with combating the oxidative stress that can occur.⁸ Research showed that glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant, declined by 45% in high elevation conditions.¹⁰

Antioxidants are proven to be a solution to aid your body with oxidative stress.⁹  Boost your antioxidants with a supplement such as glutathione.

Taking these five steps can significantly enhance your ability to enjoy your time at 5,000 feet without succumbing to the worst of outcomes. Altitude sickness at 5,000 feet is no fun, make sure to take it easy, take breaks, prioritize hydration, get plenty of sleep, avoid alcohol, and boost antioxidants.

Supplement For High Altitude Trips

Altitude Supplement

Your ultimate companion for conquering heights, Zaca chewables helps you hydrate and revive fast! whether you're hiking, skiing, or simply enjoying breathtaking views — Zaca provides your body with the essential nutrients it needs. Formulated with antioxidants, including the powerful glutathione, you can replenish for oxidative stress. Compact and conveniently packaged in on-the-go packets, take 2-4 chewables per day or as needed. Try Zaca’s chewables supplement today and revitalize yourself on your next trip.



1. High Altitude Illness
2. Don’t let altitude sickness ruin your trip to Colorado
3. How Long Does It Take To Acclimate To Elevation: Plus 7 Tips
4. Effects of high altitude on humans
5. Oxygen Levels At Altitude
6. Why Do You Need to Drink a Lot of Water at a High Altitude?
7. Sleep: The Secret Ingredient of Injury Recovery
8. High altitude and oxidative stress
9. Oxidative Stress and Diseases Associated with High-Altitude Exposure
10. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione