The Bakersfield National Cemetery is located in the rolling hills of the White Wolf area northwest of Tehachapi overlooking Highway 58. The cemetery is one of six that was authorized by Congress as part of the National Cemetery Expansion Act of 2003.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, “The first interment of cremated remains occurred on July 1, 2009, and the first casketed interment the following day.” Phase One was built on 50 acres and has room for almost 16,000 soldiers.
Five hundred acres of land for the cemetery was donated by the Tejon Ranch Company. The ranch stretches from Los Angeles to Bakersfield, covers 422 square miles and encircles the cemetery.
In the spring the cemetery is surrounded by some of the most incredibly beautiful grazing land in the state. The green hills are home to cattle, horses, an array of wildflowers, oaks and wildlife. They were once even home to the camels of the short-lived U.S. Army Camel Corps.
During the winter, the tops of the hills may be white with snow or brown from the long summer before. No matter the season, the cemetery is one of the most beautiful.
The cemetery is only a few hundred feet off of Highway 58 on the Purple Heart Trail. Whether you take a trip to the area for the funeral of a loved one or are just passing thru headed for parts beyond, it is a worthwhile stop to honor those who served our country on Memorial Day or any other day of the year.
Tribute to the armed services
This is one of several memorial areas within the cemetery. Each of the five branches of the military is represented at this site overlooking Highway 58.
Rows of graves
Phase One of the cemetery included room for 4,800 full-casket gravesites. Only 50 acres of the 500-acre cemetery was build during the first phase.
Land for the cemetery was donated by the Tejon Ranch Company. The ranch is 422 square miles with much of it consisting of grazing land. Cattle can be seen grazing right up to the fence of the cemetery.
Among the oaks
The Bakersfield National Cemetery sits among the rolling hills of White Wolf area between the cities of Bakersfield and Tehachapi. The hills are not only covered with grazing cattle but also giant oaks.
Much of the natural landscape of the area was retained when the cemetery was built. The cemetery has several giant oaks that seem to be standing guard over the gravesites of our soldiers.
Phase One of the Bakersfield National Cemetery also includes 4,000 pre-placed crypts and 3,000 columbarium niches on the 50 acres along with a memorial wall and an ossuary.
A sign at the entrance warns of the wildlife that shares space with our deceased soldiers. Bobcats, coyotes, skunks, birds and other animals may be found wandering thru.
Flag on the hilltop
An American flag is flown from a pole atop one of the many hilltops in the cemetery. The flag is positioned so that it can be seen from almost anywhere within the facility.
Another giant oak
This is yet another giant oak tree that stands watch over the men and women buried at the Bakersfield National Cemetery. It seems appropriate that the mighty oak is so prominent in the area.
This is the entrance sign to the Bakersfield National Cemetery. Congress authorized six new cemeteries in 2003. Bakersfield was one of the recipients.