‹‹ Colorado Postcards

Mt. Sopris and John Denver

Listen Now
1min 00sec
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Snow and low clouds on Mt. Sopris above Carbondale in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado, Nov. 11, 2022.
John Denver and Mt. Sopris

Friends told singer Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. his name was too long to fit on a marquee, so in the early sixties he changed it to reflect his favorite state’s capital.

John Denver drew even more inspiration from Colorado. He wrote “Rocky Mountain High” while camping at Williams Lake on Mount Sopris near Carbondale. It was a huge hit worldwide, and by 2007, officially one of Colorado’s two state songs.

Some years later, a Littleton woman tried to get the eastern peak of Mount Sopris renamed John Denver Peak. While many people supported the name change, locals weren’t so sure. Some blamed John Denver for ruining Aspen with tourism, and some felt many other landmarks would have been more suitable tributes to him.

In the end, the name change petition was never sent to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, and so anyone seeking the serenity of John Denver still has to climb Mt. Sopris.

About Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards are snapshots of our colorful state in sound. They give brief insights into our people and places, our flora and fauna, and our past and present, from every corner of Colorado.