Saffron-crowned Tanager is resident in the Andes from Venezuela south to Bolivia. It occurs throughout the Andes of Venezuela, but not in the coastal ranges (Hilty 2003). The distribution in Colombia includes both slopes of all three Andean cordilleras, as well as the Serranía de La Macarena, although it is only local on the east slope of the Eastern Andes (Hilty and Brown 1986). It occurs throughout the eastern slope of the Andes of Ecuador, and on the west slope south to Pichincha (formerly south to Chimborazo) (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001a). The distribution continues throughout the east slope of the Andes of Peru south to Santa Cruz, Bolivia (Hennessey et al. 2003).
The elevational range of the species is from 1800-2300 m in Venezuela (locally down to 1450 m) (Hilty 2003); 1300-2400 m in Colombia (rarely to 3100 m) (Hilty and Brown 1986); in Ecuador, it primarily occurs at 1500-2300 m, but locally to as lowas 1100 m (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001a); from 1000-2300 m in Peru (Schulenberg et al. 2007); and from 1100-2700 m in Bolivia (Hennessey et al. 2003).