Zion National Park Altitude: Complete Guide & 6 Tips

Zion National Park Altitude

One of the critical aspects to consider when planning a visit Zion National Park, nestled in the heart of southwestern Utah, is its altitude. In this complete guide, we will delve into everything you need to know about Zion National Park's altitude, along with six tips for altitude sickness.

Zion National Park Altitude

Zion National Park altitude sits between 3,666 feet and 8,726 feet high. Horse Ranch Mountain is its highest elevation point, and Coalpits Wash is its lowest elevation point.

Zion Altitude:

  • Zion National Park altitude - 3,666 ft (1,117 m) to 8,726 ft (2,660 m)

Known for its towering sandstone cliffs, lush canyons, and diverse wildlife, Zion draws over 4 million visitors per year. With famous hikes such as Angels Landing, the magnificent park is a bucket list destination outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Other Zion Altitudes:

  • Angels Landing altitude - 5,770 ft (1,760 m)
  • Horse Ranch Mountain altitude - 8,726 ft (2,660 m)
  • The Narrows altitude - 5,900 ft (1,800 m)

To make the most of your Zion visit, keep reading to find out more about Zion's high altitudes and how to prepare for altitude sickness.

Is Zion National Park High Altitude?

Yes, Zion National Park is considered high altitude.

According to Cornell's definition of high altitude, it's anything over 4,000 feet.⁴ While some areas of Zion are lower than this threshold, many of the areas that people visit exceed 4,000 feet. Zion National Park altitude ranges between 3,666 and 8,726 feet.

Can You Get Altitude Sickness At Zion National Park?

Yes, you can get altitude sickness at Zion National Park.

As an example, many visitors of Denver can experience altitude sickness at 5,280 feet high, which is not too far off from Zion's average altitude. 

Julian Klapowitz MD from Travel Medicine Consultants states that altitude sickness can start at 4,000 feet.⁵ At this altitude, Zion visitors are at risk, especially if coming from sea level.

Do People Get Altitude Sickness In Utah?

Yes, people get altitude sickness in Utah.

With a median altitude of 6,100 feet above sea level, Utah is the third highest state in America. At these elevations, altitude sickness can be a significant risk which increases the higher you go for destinations beyond just Zion such as Alta, Snowbird, and Bryce Canyon.

Is Bryce Canyon Higher Elevation Than Zion?

Yes, Bryce Canyon is higher elevation than Zion.

Bryce Canyon lowest and high elevation exceeds Zion, between 6620 and 9105 feet. Not too far behind, Zion ranges between 3,666 and 8,726 feet.

What Is The Highest Elevation In Zion?

The high elevation in Zion is Horse Ranch Mountain at a height of 8,726 feet. This makes the altitude of Zion National Park comparable to many locations in the Rocky Mountains like Vail and Aspen.

Zion National Park Altitude Sickness

Zion altitude sickness is caused by the lower oxygen levels at the increased elevation.

With lower oxygen, also known as hypoxia, the body also struggles with oxidative stress and even dehydration. This leads to altitude sickness symptoms.

Zion National Park Altitude Sickness Symptoms

When visiting Zion, altitude sickness can manifest in several ways, and its severity varies from person to person. It typically starts to develop within 6-24 hours after arrival.

Common Zion National Park altitude sickness symptoms include:

  • headaches
  • nausea or vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • fatigue or tiredness
  • increased respiration
  • shortness of breath
  • problems sleeping
  • insomnia
  • feeling sick

Keep an eye out for these kinds of symptoms from altitude sickness, and take the proper steps to prepare that we discuss below.

6 Tips To Avoid Zion National Park Altitude Sickness

The Zion altitude can put a damper on your adventure.

As a high-altitude based company in Colorado, we'll share our best tips to help you avoid Zion altitude sickness.

Here's 6 Tips To Avoid Zion National Park Altitude Sickness:

1. Acclimate Gradually

Altitude sickness most often occurs when you ascend to higher elevations too quickly, like going from sea level to Horse Ranch Mountain at 8,726 feet. To minimize the risk, gradually acclimate by slowly ascending.

For example, you can spend your first day in the park exploring the lower elevations, such as the main visitor center area which is located around 3,923 feet above sea level. Use this time to get accustomed to the altitude for a day or two before attempting higher hikes like Angels Landing or Horse Ranch Mountain.

2. Get Plenty Of Sleep

Proper rest is essential when visiting higher altitudes for recovering and reenergizing. Sleep has been shown in research to increase blow flow and oxygen.⁸

Ensure you get a good night's sleep before your journey to Zion National Park, at least 7-9 hours, and continue to prioritize rest during your stay. By getting natural sunlight during the day, you can also help melatonin production in your body at night.

3. Hydrate Well

In Zion where the air is hotter and drier and the high altitudes can increase respiration, dehydration becomes a threat. Fluid loss can be twice as fast in high elevations.⁹

Drink water regularly throughout the day, as it's commonly recommended to get at least half your body weight in water per day.

TIP: To enhance hydration, add sea salt (naturally containing minerals) to your food/water, and take Zaca's hydration packets to aid in healthy water absorption.

4. Avoid Alcohol

Some might want to have a drink in Zion, especially if camping. Alcohol though can lead to lower sleep quality, dehydration, and symptoms such as headache and nausea.¹⁰

To stay in peak condition and avoid potential complications, it's best to skip alcohol until you feel fully acclimated to the Zion altitude.

5. Descend Quickly

The best course of action if you feel symptoms of altitude sickness, or it worsen, is to descend to a lower elevation as quickly as possible.

Descending allows your body to get high levels of oxygen in the air and recover more rapidly.

6. Increase Antioxidants

High altitudes, such as at Zion, have been shown to increase oxidative stress in the body.¹¹ So much that in one study glutathione, the body's master antioxidant, was shown to decrease by 45%.¹²

Antioxidants can be a promising solution.¹³ By supplementing them such as glutathione, you can help support healthy levels to fight free radical damage.

By following these six essential tips, you can help avoid experiencing altitude sickness during your visit to Zion National Park. Acclimate gradually, get plenty of sleep, hydrate well, avoid alcohol, descend quickly, and increase antioxidants.

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1. Zion National Park Elevation
2. Angels Landing Elevation
3. The Narrows (Zion National Park) Elevation
4. Cornell High Altitude Definition
5. High Altitude Illness
6. Bryce Canyon Altitude Sickness And Elevation
7.  Altitude Of Zion National Park
8. Sleep: The Secret Ingredient of Injury Recovery
9. Why Do You Need to Drink a Lot of Water at a High Altitude?
10. Effects of Alcohol
11. High altitude and oxidative stress
12. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione
13. Oxidative Stress and Diseases Associated with High-Altitude Exposure