The Crestone Cemetery rests in an open piñon-juniper woodland and commands a spectacular view of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. The native piñon-juniper vegetation and semi-arid mountain climate provide a beautiful and natural setting that eliminates wasteful and expensive watering and mowing.
The cemetery was established in 1911 with a 40-acre federal land grant. Six acres are fenced and platted into 20' x 20' plots, each allowing for six burials. The remainder of the 34 acres are in the process of being developed. Because Crestone is geographically isolated and 50 miles from the nearest commercial mortuary, most funeral services over the last century occurred at home or in the Old Schoolhouse. Fewer than a quarter of these burials were embalmed, and there are no known concrete vaults enclosing caskets.
In 2011, the Crestone Cemetery became the first cemetery in Colorado--and the second in the entire nation--to be officially certified by the Green Burial Council to provide a space for natural, or "green" burials. The Natural Burial Grounds section of the cemetery serves those who wish to have their untreated bodily remains biodegrade in a natural area free of chemicals or synthetic materials. Purchase of interment rights in the Natural Burial Grounds requires an agreement that each burial will comply with specific regulations as set forth by the Green Burial Council.
A Veteran's Memorial has been erected near the entrance of the cemetery to honor those who served in wars as far back as the Civil War. Their names are engraved on the back of the memorial.