The scenic open space of John Denver Sanctuary is a fitting tribute to the singer famous for “Rocky Mountain High” and other songs written about the allure of the Rocky Mountains. Prior to his death in a private plane crash in 1997, Aspen was his home for many years. “Starwood in Aspen” showcases his love of this mountain town. John Denver was an environmentalist. Once an industrial site and parking lot, the sanctuary is now a wildlife habitat and the series of ponds and native plants clean 30% of Aspen’s stormwater runoff. The serene space is filled with colorful flowers, engraved rocks and many places to sit and reflect on the edge of the Roaring Fork River.
As I got lost in the lyrics of some of John Denver’s iconic songs engraved in native river boulders in John’s Song Garden, I thought how poignant his words are today.
The boulders are in a perfect circle. That was done intentionally to represent the circle of life. At the center of the circle is a Colorado Blue Spruce. It symbolizes the singer’s spirit.
The John Denver Sanctuary is open daily from dawn to dusk. It is free to visit. Every year in early October there’s a John Denver Celebration weekend to pay tribute to his music and legacy. It’s a perfect time to sing along and remember the man who shared his “Rocky Mountain High” with the world through his songs.