Fort Bowie National Historic Site
The beginnings of Fort Bowie came in 1858 when the Butterfield Overland Stage line needed a watering stop, which they found at Apache Spring in the southern Arizona desert. Four years later Apache Indians attacked Union soldiers at the site, prompting the army to build Fort Bowie. Until Geronimo surrendered in 1886, the U.S. Army used Fort Bowiein its continuing skirmishes with the Chiricahua Apache. By 1894 the fort had outlived its usefulness and was abandoned. Today you can hike into the ruins of Fort Bowie, seeing other remnants of white and Native American presence along the way.What to see and do: Park at Trail head, and hike towards Fort Bowie and the visitor center, open from 8 AM until 4:30 PM daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas, to see exhibits about the area's history. Most importantly, bring water and wear sturdy shoes. To get to the fort, you hike 1.5 miles through desert terrain along an interpretive trail. In summertime, temperatures can easily top 100 degrees Fahrenheit, making extra water essential. If you make a winter visit, the desert can greet you with snow and bitter wind chills. Be prepared for extreme outdoor conditions no matter which season. Call the park for an alternative access if you have physical limitations.Along the hiking trail, keep an eye out for desert wildlife and birds. After a rainstorm, Arizona wildflowers will soften the landscape. Before you reach the fort ruins, you'll pass by the old Butterfield Stage station, post cemetery, Apache village, the Battle of Apache Pass site, and you may still hear the trickle of Apache Spring. At the Fort Bowie site, walk around the remains of 37 buildings, imagining the lives of men and women living in this remote outpost. Take a break at the picnic tables, then return along the overlook trail (also 1.5 miles). From this outlook, you get a complete view of the fort ruins and its surroundings.Back at Fort Bowie's visitor center, you can view and purchase books, historic photos, and artifacts. Call ahead for details about this and other special events. For mobility-impaired access, you need to make prior arrangements with the park. Leashed pets are permitted.
3203 South Old Fort Bowie Road
28 miles southeast of Willcox or 116 miles east of Tucson
- Bowie, AZ 85605
- 32.18207100, -109.43442700
- Visit Website
- (520) 847-2500