Utah Altitude Sickness: The Complete Guide And How To Avoid

Utah Altitude Sickness

Utah is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes and experiences in the world — but visiting unprepared could cause you to experience altitude sickness. Learn everything about Utah altitude sickness in this complete guide, including altitude heights and how to avoid altitude sickness in Utah.

Utah Altitude

Utah altitude has a mean elevation of 6,100 feet high. Slightly under Colorado and Wyoming, Utah is the third highest state in the country.

  • Utah altitude - 6,100 ft (1,860 m)

Utah is a popular destination for anyone looking to explore the outdoors and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. From skiing and snowboarding to mountain biking and hiking, there are so many activities you can do in Utah.

Utah encompasses many mountain ranges with high elevations including the Wasatch Mountains, the Uinta Mountains, and the Rocky Mountains.⁸

Some of the high altitude traveled destinations are Bryce Canyon, Salt Lake City and Park City — just to name a few. Also many world renowned ski resorts including Snowbird, Deer Valley, and Alta. 

  • Bryce Canyon altitude - 6620 ft to 9105 ft (2,020 m to 2,775 m)
  • Salt Lake City altitude - 4,265 ft (1,300 m)
  • Park City altitude - 7,000 ft (2,100 m)
  • Snowbird altitude - 7,760 ft to 11,000 ft  (2,365 m to 3,353 m)
  • Deer Valley altitude - 6,570 ft to 9,570 ft (2,000 m to 2,920 m)
  • Alta Ski Area altitude 8,530 ft to 11,068 ft (2,600 m to 3,374 m)

The state of Utah has a variety of elevations, from the high desert to the mountain peaks. When planning a trip to Utah, it’s important to know the elevation to determine what altitude sickness symptoms you may experience.

Is Utah Considered High Altitude?

Yes, Utah is considered high altitude.

According to Mountain Medicine, elevations between 4,900–11,500 feet (1,500–3,500 meters) are considered high altitude.⁶ 

Utah has altitudes all within this range, with a median of 6,100 feet above sea level and summits as high as 13,528 feet such as Kings Peak.

Can You Get Altitude Sickness In Utah?

Yes, you can get altitude sickness in Utah. Due to such high average elevations, altitude sickness is a real threat.

At a mean elevation of 6,100 ft in Utah, there's approximately 4%-5% less oxygen levels compared to sea level.⁷ Altitude sickness occurs when your body has trouble adjusting to the lower oxygen levels at higher elevations with decreased air pressure.

With lower oxygen levels in most destinations, you should be well prepared for altitude sickness in Utah.

Utah Altitude Sickness

Altitude in Utah
Utah altitude sickness is a common occurrence for many people visiting the state.
Utah is known for its incredible hiking, skiing and other outdoor activities. But if you’re not used to the high altitude, you may end up with some unwanted symptoms like headaches or nausea — which can ruin your trip.

Altitude sickness occurs when your body has trouble adjusting to high altitudes due to lower oxygen levels, and increased oxidative and physiological stress.

Utah altitude sickness symptoms may include: 

  • headache
  • nausea or vomiting
  • dizziness or light-headedness
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • fatigue or tiredness
  • weakness
  • insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • loss of appetite
  • malaise or feeling sick

Most people that experience mild symptoms of Utah altitude sickness will see signs within 24 hours of arriving at high elevation. Be on the lookout for these symptoms, and take precautions to avoid altitude sickness in Utah that we'll share below.

How Do You Prevent Altitude Sickness In Utah?

If you're planning to visit, you may be wondering how to prevent altitude sickness in Utah.
The best way to prevent altitude sickness is follow some steps and precautions when you first arrive at your destination. It's much easier to avoid or prevent altitude sickness in Utah than to fight it off after you already experience symptoms.
We'll discuss the best tips to avoid Utah altitude sickness in detail below — including staying well hydrated, acclimating slowly, resting and sleeping, avoiding alcohol, and supplementing glutathione.

5 Tips How To Avoid Altitude Sickness In Utah

If you're planning to visit Utah, there's a good chance that you'll be traveling to the state's mountainous regions. And if you're planning to do any hiking, camping, skiing or just relaxing in the mountains — there's a good chance that you'll experience altitude sickness.
As a company based in Colorado with years of high altitude experience and research, we cover with you the top tips to help you avoid altitude sickness in Utah.

Here's 5 Tips How To Avoid Altitude Sickness In Utah:

1. Stay Well Hydrated

As one of driest states in the country, combined with increased respiration from the high altitudes, your body will loose fluids faster than normal. Dehydration can kick in and cause symptoms such as headaches and nausea, similar to altitude sickness.
It’s important to drink lots of water even before you start feeling thirsty because this can help prevent dehydration from occurring in the first place. Drink plenty of water before and during your trip to stay well hydrated.
Most experts recommends drinking half your body weight in ounces of water each day. You should increase this amount with the more strenuous activity you do.

2. Acclimate Slowly

Don't rush to your mountain destination, it takes time for your body to adjust to high altitudes. It's better to spend time at lower elevations first before attempting higher ones to avoid altitude sickness in Utah.
For example, if you're planning on skiing in Park City with altitudes that range between 6,500 and 10,000 feet, you should stay a night or two in Salt Lake City to help you acclimate slowly. At 4,265 feet, Salt Lake City will give your body time to adjust before heading to higher altitudes.
It’s also important to acclimate gradually over a day or two if you visit a mountain town to ski. If going to summits exceeding 10,000 feet on your first day, your body will be in shock and not be able to acclimate fast enough.
This of course only applies mostly to visitors coming from sea level, but taking these steps to acclimate slowly can drastically help your body be better adjust.

3. Rest and Sleep

Rest and take it easy for the first few days. Don’t overexert yourself by hiking, skiing, or doing other outdoor activities too much until you know you don't have signs of Utah altitude sickness.
Rest and sleep are essential for you body to adjust and recover. Research by OrthoCarolina shows sleep can help get oxygen to the cells by increasing blood flow.⁹
7-9 hours of sleep a night is recommended by experts.⁹ Between resting and sleeping your initially days, you can better help avoid altitude sickness on your trip.

4. Avoid Alcohol (Initially)

It’s best to avoid alcohol until your body acclimates to the change in elevation. Between dehydration and the potential hangover from drinking alcohol, it could ruin your Utah experience.
Wait until don't have any symptoms of Utah altitude sickness before starting to consume alcohol, or at least start with minimal amounts.

5. Supplement Glutathione

Glutathione levels can decline at high altitudes due to increased free radical damage.

  • It was found that glutathione depleted by up to 45% in research of high altitudes.¹⁰ 
This amino acid is considered the body's master antioxidant. Glutathione supplementation may be especially beneficial because of the extra oxidative stress high elevations can put on your body.

To summarize, these highly researched tips can help you on how to avoid altitude sickness in Utah — by staying well hydrated, acclimating slowly, resting and sleeping, avoiding alcohol initially, and supplementing glutathione.

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1. Utah
2. Top-Rated Ski Resorts in Utah, 2023
3. Snowbird Utah
4. Deer Valley Utah
5. Alta Ski Area
6. Effects of high altitude on humans
7. Oxygen Levels at Altitude
8. Utah Is Part Of Three Major Geographical Regions
9. Sleep: The Secret Ingredient of Injury Recovery
10. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione