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John Denver Sanctuary

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Located along the Roaring Fork River, as it runs through downtown Aspen, the John Denver Sanctuary is a peaceful outdoor oasis that highlights the spectacular natural beauty of Aspen, Colorado. When you visit the John Denver Sanctuary in Rio Grande Park, you can celebrate John Denver in this serene setting through his song lyrics, which are engraved on boulders throughout the Sanctuary.

The artfully-placed boulders feature song lyrics to “Rocky Mountain High”, “Sunshine on My Shoulders”, “Annie’s Song”, “Perhaps Love”, and more.

The Sanctuary is especially beautiful in the summer when the vibrant wildflowers are in full bloom and all of the surrounding flora is a lush green. Take a seat on a rock, gaze up at Aspen Mountain as it looms over the city, and enjoy the bubbling sound of gently flowing water from the surrounding pools and waterfalls.

The series of pools and waterfalls throughout the John Denver Sanctuary and Rio Grande Park are more than a restful place to reflect on life. In fact, they’re a major piece of Aspen’s storm water filtration system.

According to an article by the Aspen Times, Aspen Parks Manager Jeff Woods said that the John Denver Sanctuary and its storm water filtration system are “a tribute to Denver's environmental legacy." Woods developed the idea for this unique storm water filtration system following John Denver’s death in 1997.

The unique system is responsible for filtering half of downtown Aspen's storm water, and in that process, the pools and waterfalls remove 98% of existing pollutants, all before the water returns to the Roaring Fork River. The filtration system is a tribute that honors Denver and his commitment to the environment.

Be sure to carve out some time to visit the John Denver Sanctuary in Rio Grande Park the next time you’re in Aspen. Any time of the year, whether in peak summer when the wildflowers are in full bloom, or on a sunny morning after a fresh snow in the middle of winter, the John Denver Sanctuary is a special place that allows you to enjoy a peaceful walk of reflection in the outdoors.