Durango is located 6,512 feet above sea level and while this is a great fun fact to know, it is also an important thing to make note of when planning your trip. Travelers who are not used to the high altitude will need to prepare for the Durango Colorado elevation in advance so the body can adjust appropriately and in a timely fashion. If this is your first time vacationing and hiking at a high altitude, check out these tips to help get your body adjusted.
Stay Hydrated Before Your Trip
This may seem like a given, but one of the best ways to prepare your body for an altitude change is by staying hydrated. This means consuming lots of water and limiting your intake of alcohol, tea, coffee and other diuretics. To be on the safe side, we recommend drinking twice the amount of water you would normally consume.
Prepare a Kit of Medication
While the symptoms of visiting a high altitude are unpleasant, they can also be combatted with over the counter medication and won't last forever. At the first sign of a headache, take some ibuprofen to lessen the symptoms. You'll also want to pack sunscreen for your outdoor adventures to protect your skin. Check with your doctor to make sure you don't have any risk factors that make you more susceptible to altitude sickness. If you have any, they may prescribe you medication to provide a little extra protection.
It can be really tempting to start hiking in the mountains, rock climbing or exploring right when you arrive in Durango but we'd recommend taking it slow. Explore town and give your body a chance to adjust before taking on any further gain in elevation. When you do start hiking, be sure to go slow, stay within your ability level and take frequent breaks. Don't forget to bring plenty of water and carbs to fuel you along the way.
Climb High, Sleep Low
Along with climbing elevations slowly, you'll want to return to a lower level with thicker air to rest and recover overnight. This is especially important if you feel even mild symptoms of altitude sickness. It's always tempting to keep climbing but continuing to climb past your limits or stick it out for a night at a higher altitude can put a damper on the remainder of your trip.
If In Doubt, Descend
If you begin to feel symptoms of altitude sickness on a climb, make sure you turn back and play it safe. Symtoms include headaches, nausea, difficulty breathing, vomiting and abdominal pain. Take time to recover and when you feel better, attempt the climb again. The mountains are gorgeous but can be dangerous if you push yourself too far.
If you believe you may be suffering from altitude sickness, it is important to seek medical attention. For more information on vacationing at a high altitude and how to prepare, visit the CDC website. Durango Colorado elevation changes are managable if you prepare in advance and take it slow when you arrive.