Fort Lyon National Cemetery
Front gate at Fort Lyon National Cemetery.
Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed federal holidays.
Visitation Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset.
This cemetery has space available to accommodate casketed and cremated remains.
Burial in a national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces who have met a minimum active duty service requirement and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
A Veteran's spouse, widow or widower, minor dependent children, and under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities may also be eligible for burial. Eligible spouses and children may be buried even if they predecease the Veteran.
Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty, or were eligible for retired pay, may also be eligible for burial.
» Eligibility for Burial in a VA National Cemetery
The cemetery is located seven miles east of Las Animas on Highway 50 at the end of the Northeast Road. The nearest airport is in Pueblo County (approx. 87 miles west of Ft. Lyon on Route 50).
Fax all discharge documentation to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-866-900-6417 and follow-up with a phone call to 1-800-535-1117.
For information on scheduled burials in our national cemeteries, please go to the Daily Burial Schedule.
Fort Lyon National Cemetery is located in southeast Colorado, approximately five miles from the town of Las Animas, Colorado. Pikes Peak National Cemetery is responsible for all administrative functions, including the scheduling of burials. Comprised of 52 acres, only 11 acres are currently developed and the cemetery is expected to have burial space for approximately the next 30 years.
Military Funeral Honors
In addition to active duty stations, which provide military funeral honors, there are local veteran's service organizations that also provide these services. Please contact Pikes Peak National Cemetery at (719) 216-1025 for further information.
For educational materials and additional information on this cemetery, please visit the Education section, located below.
Cemetery policies are conspicuously posted and readily visible to the public.
Floral arrangements accompanying the casket or urn at the time of burial will be placed on the completed grave. Natural fresh cut flowers may be placed on graves at any time of the year. They will be removed when they become unsightly or when it becomes necessary to facilitate cemetery operations such as mowing. Flowers ordered for delivery to the cemetery must be delivered directly to the gravesite by the florist.
Artificial flowers will be permitted on graves during the periods of October 10 through April 15 and 10 days before through 10 days after Easter Sunday and Memorial Day. Potted plants are only allowed 10 days before through 10 days after Easter Sunday and Memorial Day.
Christmas wreaths, grave blankets and other seasonal adornments may be placed on graves from December 1 through January 20. They may not be secured to headstones or markers. Grave Floral Blankets may not be larger in size than 2x3 feet.
Permanent plantings, statues, vigil lights, breakable objects and similar items are not permitted on the graves. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not permit adornments that are considered offensive, inconsistent with the dignity of the cemetery, or considered hazardous to cemetery personnel. For example, items incorporating beads or wires may become entangled in mowers or other equipment and cause injury.
VA regulations 38 CFR 1.218 prohibit the carrying of firearms (either openly or concealed), explosives or other dangerous or deadly weapons while on VA property, except for official purposes, such as military funeral honors.
Possession of firearms on any property under the charge and control of VA is prohibited. Offenders may be subject to a fine, removal from the premises, or arrest.
Fort Lyon is located in Bent County, Colo., seven miles east of Las Animas. The fort was originally named Fort Wise in honor of Henry A. Wise, governor of Virginia. However, with the outbreak of the Civil War, it seemed inappropriate to have a Union fort named after the governor of a Southern state, and the name was changed. The new name Fort Lyon was chosen to honor Brevet Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon, who was killed at the Battle of Wilson Creek on Aug. 10, 1861; he was the first Union general to die in battle.
Shortly after its establishment in 1887, Fort Lyon was moved to its current site just below the mouth of the Purgatoire River because floods at the original location threatened to destroy equipment and personal belongings. Within days of the move, the fort commander Captain Penrose began constructing new buildings. Fort Lyon is noted for being the last residence of the famous Army scout, trapper and adventurer, Christopher "Kit" Carson. Carson was brought to Fort Lyon's Dr. Henry Tilton for treatment of an illness that had been aggravated by a trip to Washington, D.C., during the proceeding winter on behalf of peaceable relations with the Ute Indians. Carson died of a ruptured aneurysm May 23, 1868.
The U.S. Army abandoned Fort Lyon in 1897 and its troops were transferred elsewhere. The remains of soldiers buried at the post were disinterred and moved to Fort McPherson National Cemetery in Nebraska. In 1906, the U.S. Navy took advantage of Colorado's mild, dry climate and opened a sanitarium for treating sailors and marines suffering from tuberculosis. On June 22, 1922, the Veteran's Bureau assumed operations and the hospital was opened to veterans from all branches of the service. In 1930, administration of the hospital was transferred to the newly created Veterans Administration and within three years the VA designated Fort Lyon a neuropsychiatry facility.
The original burials commenced in 1907 as the Naval hospital cemetery, and they continued under the Veteran's Bureau and Veterans Administration. Records indicate the first veteran interred at Fort Lyon was Youayoshi Hosi, a Japanese-American from Pennsylvania who served as a Navy warrant officer during the Spanish-American War. During World War I, German prisoners of war who had contracted tuberculosis were entitled to treatment in American hospitals under the Geneva Convention. A number of these prisoners resided at the Naval Hospital at Fort Lyon. Relations between German soldiers and the Americans were friendly and a custom was established for decorating the graves of two members of the German Imperial Navy interred in the national cemetery with the German flags on Memorial Day. The cemetery was transferred to the National Cemetery System in September 1973.
We are developing educational content for this national cemetery, and will post new materials as they become available. Visit the Veterans Legacy Program and NCA History Program for additional information. Thank you for your interest.