John Denver Sanctuary

John Denver Sanctuary in Aspen
The John Denver Sanctuary sits on the banks of the Roaring Fork River and features lyrics to John Denver's hits, including Rocky Mountain High, engraved on granite boulders. | Photo by Insufficient Postage / flickr

Staff writer

The John Denver Sanctuary is a memorial to the singer-songwriter, who lived in the Aspen area from the 1970s until his death in 1997 and wrote several songs about Aspen, including “Aspenglow” and “Starwood at Aspen.”

The memorial is located at Rio Grande Park, just a couple of blocks north of the Hotel Jerome, and features a series of granite boulders etched with the lyrics from such hits as “Rocky Mountain High,” “Sunshine on My Shoulders,” “Poems, Prayers and Promises” and “Annie’s Song.”

The sanctuary’s memorial stone bears this inscription: “I am a song, I live to be sung, I sing with all my heart, John Denver, Composer, Musician, Father, Son, Brother, Friend. December 31, 1943-October 12, 1997.”

John Denver fans gather at the memorial each year on the anniversary of his death. He died at the age of 53 when the plane he was piloting crashed off the California coast.

He was named Colorado’s poet laureate in 1974, and “Rocky Mountain High” was designated as one of the state’s official songs in 2007.

The memorial is along the Roaring Fork River at the north end of Rio Grande Park. Parking is available in a municipal lot south of the park and behind the Pitkin County Library.

John Denver Sanctuary
500 N. Mill St.
Aspen, CO 81611
See map