Fort Bowie National Historic Site
Fort Bowie commemorates in its 1,000 acres, the story of the bitter conflict between the Chiricahua Apaches and the United States military. For more than 30 years Fort Bowie and Apache Pass were the focal point of military operations eventually culminating in the surrender of Geronimo in 1886 and the banishment of the Chiricahuas to Florida and Alabama. It was the site of the Bascom Affair, a wagon train massacre, and the battle of Apache Pass, where a large force of Chiricahua Apaches under Mangus Colorados and Cochise fought the California Volunteers. The remains of Fort Bowie today are carefully preserved, the adobe walls of various post buildings and the ruins of a Butterfield Stage Station. It stands as a lasting monument to the bravery and endurance of U.S. soldiers in paving the way for westward settlement and the taming of the western frontier. It also serves to provide an understanding of the "clash of cultures," one a young emerging nation in pursuit of its "manifest destiny," the other a valiant hunter/gatherer society fighting to preserve its existence. Apache resistance was finally crushed at Fort Bowie, and the result was the end of the Indian wars in the United States.
There is a 3 mile round-trip walk to the fort itself. There are several important sites along the way including; the remains of the Butterfield Stage Station, the Post Cemetery, a replica of a Chiricahua Apache Camp, and Apache Spring which still provides water to this area. An alternate, accessible route is also available.
There are no camping facilities within the park. Motels, stores, trailer parks, and campgrounds can be found in the nearby towns of Wilcox and Bowie. Another campground is located at Chiricahua National Monument, 25 miles to the southwest.
The hot and dry Sonoran Desert meets the milder Chihuahuan Desert, and the southern Rocky Mountains abut the northern Sierra Madres. Elevations at Fort Bowie range from 4,550 to 5,250 feet
From Willcox, AZ drive southeast for 20 miles on State Road #186 to the Fort Bowie turn off, then drive another eight miles on the unpaved road to the Fort Bowie Trailhead. Be prepared to walk the three miles round trip to the ruins and back to your car.
From the town of Bowie, the trailhead is located on Apache Pass Road, 13 miles south.
The park is 116 miles east of Tucson, AZ via I-10, and 227 miles from Phoenix, AZ.