What Is it Like to Live at Denver's Elevation?
Denver’s elevation is something that people can struggle to acclimate to. That’s because the city sits at an elevation of over 5,000 feet—with a range between 5,130–5,690 ft. But don’t worry, there are tips for getting used to Denver’s elevation and even Denver’s climate. Plus, there are plenty of Denver attractions to make it worth your while.
Nicknamed the Mile High City because its official elevation is exactly one mile—5280 feet—above sea level, Denver sits in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains. It’s Colorado’s most populous city and the 19th most populous U.S. metropolitan statistical area. Probably for good reason. There are endless outdoor adventures to embark on in Denver, and plenty of scenic views. But for some, the high altitude can cause a problem.
Denver Elevation Sickness
There are different levels of altitude sickness, but at Denver’s elevation level, you’re unlikely to experience anything severe.
Level I: Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
AMS is very common and considered the mildest form of elevation sickness. Symptoms might include slight dizziness, headache, muscle aches, nausea—like having a slight cold. You’re not likely to experience anything more severe at Denver’s elevation level.
Level II: High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE)
This type of sickness typically occurs when someone rapidly ascends to altitudes greater than 8,000 feet. The result can be a buildup of fluid in the lungs, which is considered very dangerous and even life threatening.
High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE)
The most severe form of altitude sickness, resulting in fluid entering the brain. This type of elevation sickness is life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. It’s possible at elevation levels between 8,200 to 9,800 feet, but more likely to occur at levels above 13,000 feet.
Preparing Yourself for Denver Elevation Levels
While Denver’s higher elevation levels might come as a small shock to your system, there are plenty of things you can do to avoid or lessen the symptoms.
Start slow with the physical activity
You’ll feel the effects of exercise more intensely in Denver. Don’t expect yourself to take on as much as you usually do, even if you’re an active person. We know this is hard because there are so many amazing mountains in Denver to climb. But take it easy, test your limits safely, and you’ll get to the top of that mountain eventually.
Drink lots of water
Colorado’s low humidity makes the air desert-dry. You should plan to drink about twice as much water there as you would drink at home. Pro tip? Start increasing your water intake before you even head out on your trip. Or if Denver home builders have wooed you into a new dream home (lucky you), give yourself a month before the big move to pick up a new hydration habit.
Easy on the alcohol
Unfortunately, not all liquids count towards your new hydration goals. But if you like a drink as a little pick me up, this isn’t all bad news. Alcohol will pack a bigger punch at Denver elevation levels than elsewhere. So go easy and enjoy drinking like you’re just trying your first cocktail.
Sort of. Foods like bananas, broccoli, avocado, cantaloupe, celery, greens, bran, chocolate, granola, dates, dried fruit, potatoes, and tomatoes can help you replenish electrolytes and balance your salt intake. This could those Denver elevation symptoms a little easier to handle.
You’ll enjoy bluer skies in Colorado but get hit by 25 percent less protection from the sun. So don’t forget the sunscreen. And with over 300 days of sunshine each year, you’ll need it more often than not.
Did we mention 300 days of sun? That might push you to get a Denver home builder on the phone right now (we’ve got a few pretty new homes in Denver that might catch your eye), but before you do—prepare yourself to layer up too.
Denver’s climate is mild. On the cold end, usually between December to February or so, temperatures drop to around 20 degrees on the lower end. But even in the colder months, they can creep up to about 50 degrees during the day’s high. That means you’ll need to layer up. Expect colder mornings and cooler nights, but possibly warm and balmy days. This is true even in the summer when temperatures can break 90 degrees but still drop down to a cool 60.
Denver climate is hardly something to complain about. Sure, you might have to layer up some, but having a reprieve from painfully hot or cold temperatures sounds nice, right? It’s a big reason why some of our clients started seeking out new home builders in Denver in the first place. And of course, Denver elevation is something you’ll get used to. But in the end, Denver attractions can be hard to compete with—especially if you’re an outdoorsy person that also appreciates a little of the city life. Just do a little research before you visit, or move, and plan to ensure that you get to make the most of all the attractions Denver has to offer.
Contributed to Your Home blog by Elliott Rowzen
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