Top 10 Tips How To Avoid Altitude Sickness In Colorado

How To Avoid Altitude Sickness In Colorado

If you're planning a trip to our beautiful state, you're probably wondering how to avoid altitude sickness in Colorado. Altitude sickness is a nasty condition that can really ruin your trip to Colorado. With these ten simple tips, you will be able to avoid altitude sickness as much as possible. Let's take a look at how to avoid altitude sickness in Colorado.

Colorado Altitude

Colorado is the highest state in the USA, with a mean altitude of 6,800 feet. In fact, one-third of the USA's 14ers, mountains over 14,000 feet, are in Colorado.

The state of Colorado is home to the highest paved road in the North America, and the highest incorporated city.

When visiting Colorado if you fly into Denver, you'll immediately begin at an altitude of 5280, also famously called mile high city.

How To Avoid Altitude Sickness In Colorado

Before we dive in, let's look at why altitude sickness starts in the first place. The higher you climb in altitude, there is less oxygen in the air to breathe. The body has to work harder to get oxygen into the bloodstream and throughout the body. The human body does not naturally acclimatize to a lower level of oxygen very well, specifically between 5,000 (Denver altitude) to 8,000 (Breckenridge altitude) is where altitude sickness can start.

You may wonder is altitude sickness common in Colorado. The University of Colorado School of Medicine Dr. Honigman quoted that 25% to 30% of mountain visitors get altitude sickness, or acute mountain sickness (ams).³

The most common symptoms of altitude sickness are:

  • headaches
  • nausea and even vomiting 
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • difficulty breathing
  • dizziness

Our company is based in Colorado, so we see altitude sickness hit visitors every day and know what helps altitude sickness in Colorado.

Here are our top 10 tips for how to avoid altitude sickness in Colorado:

1. Take It Easy

This might seem like common sense, but a great way how to avoid altitude sickness Colorado is not to overdo it! If you're coming from sea level, don't try to hike a mountain or ski on your first day here.

Generally avoid over-exerting yourself when you first arrive - don't even go for a run or work out, be careful not to strain your body which is already trying to combat the high altitude stress.

If you feel lightheaded, dizzy or nauseous, then stop what you're doing immediately and sit down until it passes.

2. Acclimate Slowly

The top tip for preventing altitude sickness in Colorado is to acclimate slowly. Stay at least one night, preferably two, at an elevation below 8,000 feet / 2,400 meters.

If you are flying in from sea level, stay overnight in Denver (elevation 5,280 feet / 1,600 meters), Colorado Springs (6,035 feet / 1,839 meters), or lower-elevation towns like Golden before heading to the mountains. Destinations like Aspen, Vail, and Breckenridge are all over 8,000 feet where altitude sickness can start to get worse.

Even if you feel fine in Denver or Colorado Springs and think you don't "need" to acclimate before heading to the mountains at 8,000+ feet, that's not true. You need to give your body time to adjust to the lower oxygen levels. 

3. Replenish Glutathione

Glutathione is an antioxidant that helps the body fight free radicals, which are damaging particles that can affect normal cell functioning. Studies have found that low levels of glutathione develop from high altitude conditions, decreasing by up to 45%, which can severely stress your body and make you further prone to altitude sickness.¹

Supplement glutathione to replenish your body's master antioxidant and better fight off the physiological stress of high altitude.

4. Drink A Lot Of Water

Dehydration will accelerate the onset of altitude sickness and also make your symptoms worse. In addition, the air is much dryer in Colorado, therefore you are more susceptible to dehydration.

Drink water and keep your body hydrated at all times, especially when you are out enjoying the great outdoors. Common advice is to drink minimum half your body weight in ounces of water. Hydration is an essential way how to avoid altitude sickness In Colorado.

5. Limit Your Alcohol Consumption

Most people are aware that alcohol can dehydrate you. Altitude sickness is largely caused by dehydration and lack of oxygen, so drinking causes a double whammy.

Limit your alcohol consumption for the first few days. If you plan to drink the first few days, you should take a liver aid product to help your body process alcohol better.

6. Use Hydration Packets

It hard enough to stay properly hydrated in Colorado's climate, your body will take any help it can get!  While you are trying to fight off altitude sickness, water alone isn't always enough.

The best way to do this is by drinking hydration packets such as Zaca's hydration tablets. These tablets are full of amino acids that will keep your body performing at its best and enhancing water and electrolyte absorption.

7. Get Plenty Of Sleep

When it comes to how to avoid altitude sickness in Colorado, sleep can be a key player. You need to get at least eight hours of quality rest every night. So don't go out late after you've been on your feet all day. Go to sleep early and you'll wake up feeling better than ever.

Getting enough sleep prior to your trip makes a huge difference too. You won't get any sleep if you're up all night with a pounding headache so make sure you get plenty of shut eye before you travel to the mountains.

8. Take An Altitude Adjustment Supplement

The best way how to avoid altitude sickness in Colorado naturally is to take an altitude adjustment supplement or altitude adjustment pills.

  • Dihydromyricetin (DHM) - In addition to Glutathione being a great supplement for altitude sickness, DHM is another ingredient proven to improve physical performance during high altitude in a 2014 study.³ An excellent herb to include in your altitude adjustment supplement regime. 
Zaca's chewable tablets is a top altitude supplement sold in Colorado shops, that includes both Glutathione and Dihydromyricetin (DHM).

If you’re coming to Colorado from sea-level, we recommend that you take an altitude adjustment supplement starting at least two days before your vacation. While you are here, continue taking the supplement until your body adjusts to the elevation.

9. Consider Altitude Sickness Medicine

Some people do choose to take prescription altitude sickness medicine prior to going up in elevation. Altitude sickness medicine  is not necessary for most people and should only be considered after talking to your doctor. If you have had severe altitude sickness in the past, please consult your physician before you travel.

For instance, Acetazolamide (Diamox) is a prescription drug that helps people acclimate faster to high altitudes by accelerating the removal of carbon dioxide from the blood, thereby increasing blood pH and breathing rate. 

As a last resort Ibuprofen is another option to take if you start feeling any symptoms of altitude sickness headaches, nausea or dizziness. These symptoms should subside within a few hours after taking painkillers such as Ibuprofen which helps with inflammation as well as pain relief.

10. Seek Medical Attention

In the rare circumstances you get altitudes sickness and your symptoms worsen over time, then seek medical help immediately. A hospital for example has the ability to put you on supplemental oxygen or oxygen tanks, and other altitude sickness treatments.

While this scenario is not likely, it's a low possibility if you take a trek to the highest mountains in the state at 14,000 feet high. As they call it locally "climbing a 14er", these altitude require you to make some preparations as we've suggested in the tips above!

Based on years of research, this concludes our top 10 tips for how to avoid altitude sickness in Colorado.

Top-Choice For Colorado Altitude

Top Choice Supplement For Colorado Altitude Sickness
Zaca has been sold in Colorado for over 10 years and provides helpful nutrients like Glutathione and Glutamine, which can be lacking at higher altitudes. The combination of ingredients, including DHM listed in #8 as well, helps your body rehydrate, replenish and recover faster. So whether you are hiking up Pike's Peak, skiing Vail, or flying into Denver International Airport for a quick visit, Zaca chewables make it easy to enjoy your adventures in Colorado. Stock up on Zaca chewable tablets today and be best prepared for your trip!



1. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione
2. Dihydromyricetin Improves Physical Performance under Simulated High Altitude
3. Don’t let altitude sickness ruin your trip to Colorado
How to prevent altitude sickness in Colorado
4. To read more of our posts related or references on this topic: Avoid Breckenridge Altitude SicknessAvoid Vail Altitude SicknessAvoid Aspen Altitude Sickness, Altitude Sickness In Estes ParkColorado Springs Altitude SicknessAltitude Sickness DenverPrevent Telluride Altitude SicknessAvoid Crested Butte Altitude Sickness, and Avoid Rocky Mountains Altitude Sickness.