John Denver Sanctuary

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The John Denver Sanctuary is nestled in the heart of Aspen, next to the Rio Grande Park, adjacent to Theatre Aspen's summer performances. Its location, near the Roaring Fork River, makes this an ideal spot for quiet meditation or a family picnic. The Song Garden features many of the iconic singer's lyrics etched into native river boulders placed in a perfect circle to represent the circle of life as a score of music. At the circle's center, a single Colorado Blue Spruce was planted which symbolizes the spirit of John. It is an idyllic location and visitors will not wonder for long where "Rocky Mountain High" originated. The man-made wetlands and winding streams work as an innovative stormwater filter system, cleaning water before it drains into the Roaring Fork River. Within the Sanctuary, you will find one of the largest perennial flower gardens open to the public, which adds to the friendly atmosphere for its visitors from around the globe. These beautiful gardens start blooming during late May/ early June, which makes this the perfect location for small get-togethers or even weddings.

*Please note there is no public parking at the sanctuary so we recommend that you utilize the nearby parking garage which charges $1.50 per hour.


John Denver - Biography

The internationally acclaimed songwriter called Aspen home for much of his life. His love for the Rocky Mountains inspired many of his songs. He enjoyed his time outdoors spending time hiking, golfing, and skiing among other outdoor activities.

John Denver was an active environmentalist and shared environmental messages through music. He performed for the benefit of many charitable organizations including the Deaf Camp Benefit concert. He founded two environmental groups: The Windstar Foundation, conserving land in Snowmass, and Plant-It 2020, a reforestation organization.

To see Aspen through John Denver's perspective, listen to "Rocky Mountain High" and "Starwood in Aspen".

How the Sanctuary Came to Be

In the spring of 1998, months after John Denver’s tragic death, Jeff Woods, Manager of Parks & Recreation at the City of Aspen, approached Annie Denver to collaborate on a place to celebrate Denver’s life. The concept was beyond just a memorial, “but also served as a garden to capture nature’s spirit. We decided to call it a ‘sanctuary’ and that it should reflect John’s passion for nature and protecting the environment.” -Wood. On August 15, 1998, Mayor Bennett and City Council officially dedicated the 4.5-acre site as the John Denver Sanctuary. Over the next 15+ years, a team of passionate professionals from the City of Aspen has transformed this small ditch, which used to flow through an underground pipe, into an environmental masterpiece. They sculpted thousands of cubic yards of earth, found and placed hundreds of boulders, planted groves of native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers and created wetlands, streams and waterfalls into this unique landscape which captures Aspen's beauty but also serves to continuously clean the community's storm water runoff.

John Denver Shrine

Pay tribute to John Denver in the winter on Aspen Mountain where a shrine was erected after his death. The shrine is located off of Bellissimo Trail.

John Denver Celebration

A yearly celebration takes place each October as fans pay tribute to John Denver. Events include musical tributes, personal remembrances, luncheons, gatherings in the sanctuary, and more.

A virtual tour of the John Denver Sanctuary song garden and surrounding flora and fauna.

4th of July Parade Waiver


PARADE STARTING/STAGING: The parade will begin at 11:00am. Parade positioning is “first come, first serve” and line up begins no earlier than 10:00am. There is no entry fee and the parade is open to the public. All 5 lanes of Main Street, from Aspen Street to 2nd Street, will be closed to all traffic & designated for parade staging only. Power is not provided in staging area and remember generators do need gas.

PARADE ROUTE: The parade will start East on Main Street. It will turn South onto Hunter Street, then West onto Cooper Avenue. The parade will continue West on Cooper Avenue to Galena Street. At Galena it heads North for 2 blocks before turning West onto Hopkins Avenue. The parade will continue South on Mill then West on Hyman Avenue. Parade participants will be directed to disperse at Hyman and Monarch Street.  PARADE JUDGING: Parade judging will take place in front of the Hotel Jerome. Participants will be limited to 1 minute or less for any performances in front of the judges. Security will be onsite monitoring all entries to help prevent gaps in the parade route. Recognition will be awarded to the best entries in the following categories: 

Most Patriotic | Most Humorous | Best Animal | Best Music | Most Outrageous | Best Children’s  


  • Consumption of alcohol is prohibited during the parade.
  • Candy, favors, etc. should not be thrown from your float/vehicle during the parade. This is for the safety of the spectators and to prevent children from running out into the street. 
  • Water balloons will not be permitted. According to city ordinances, those caught throwing balloons will be removed from the parade and could face citations and/or arrests. 
  • All parade entries must be in “good taste” and will be allowed in the parade per the director’s discretion. 
  • Maximum height restriction for any float entry is 13’5”.


The undersigned organization has elected to participate in the Fourth of July parade sponsored by the City of Aspen and Aspen Chamber Resort Association (“ACRA”). In consideration for City of Aspen and ACRA allowing the undersigned to participate in the festivities, the undersigned has read, understood, and willingly agreed to the terms of this INSURANCE LIABILITY AGREEMENT and WAIVER AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT (collectively referred to herein as “RELEASE”).


                                    Participants are required to carry insurance adequate to cover any liability for damage, injury, economic loss, or other liability that may be incurred by individuals and/or organizations during the Fourth of July parade. All participants agree to carry such insurance, and also agree not to submit any claim against the insurance of City of Aspen, ACRA and/or any other sponsors of the parade, their officers, directors, agents, shareholders, employees, or anyone else directly or indirectly connected with production of the parade.


                                         The undersigned understands the potential dangers that could be encountered in participating in the Fourth of July parade. The dangers include, among other things, dangers relating to vehicular and pedestrian traffic; crowds of persons in close proximity to such traffic; animals that may react unpredictably in a parade environment; celebration and recreational activities; loud and unexpected noise; items that may be thrown to and from the crowd in connection with the parade; and other dangers traditionally associated with parades.  Understanding those risks, the undersigned for itself and for all persons who the undersigned invites or allows to participate in the parade with the undersigned, does hereby agree to indemnify, hold harmless, and release City of Aspen, ACRA and/or any other sponsors of the parade, their officers, directors, agents, shareholders, employees, and anyone else directly or indirectly connected with production of the parade from any and all liability, claims, demands, actions, or rights of action (including attorneys’ fees and costs) that are related to or are in any way connected with the undersigned’s participation in the parade. By signing this RELEASE, the undersigned intends to extinguish any and all liability and to indemnify against any loss on the part of City of Aspen, ACRA and/or any other sponsors of the parade, their officers, directors, agents, shareholders, employees, and anyone else directly or indirectly connected with production of the parade for any injury or damage of any nature (without regard to negligence or fault) to the undersigned and to all persons who the undersigned invites or allows to participate in the parade.

                                      The undersigned warrants and represents that it will not invite or allow any person to participate in the parade unless such person is bound to the terms of this RELEASE. To that end, the undersigned agrees that it shall take any steps necessary to secure agreement of such persons to the terms of this RELEASE, and that it shall be deemed a responsible person within the meaning of C.R.S. § 13-22-107 and § 19-1103(94) for all children who the undersigned invites or allows to participate in the parade.


   I am the official representative of the undersigned organization. On behalf of the organization, I acknowledge our responsibilities as set forth above. I also accept on behalf of the organization all of the terms and conditions of this



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