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 give us 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. See Apache Spring
Rates & Fees
Seasons / Hours
- Open year round. Closed Christmas Day and New Year's day.
Hours: 8:00 AM. to 4:30 PM.
Ruins Trail hours are from sunrise to sunset.
Visitor Center offers historic exhibits, book sales on the Apache campaign, the Butterfield mail route, and military history during this period.
- Food & Supplies
No food services or gasoline are available. Closest services are in the towns of Bowie and Willcox.
Access to the fort is by a 1 1/2-mile trail (3 miles round trip), moderately strenuous. Special access for mobility impaired visitors can be obtained by calling 520-847- 2500 or by writing directly to the park.
The park is located 12 miles south Bowie, Arizona, 116 miles east of Tucson, Arizona via Interstate10, and 227 miles southeast Phoenix.
- Summers are hot. Carry water and have sun protection. Temperatures may climb above 100 degrees F. Winter, snow may briefly blanket the area. High winds are possible with below freezing wind chills from October to April.
Clothing: During the summer, light clothing is recommended. Always carry rain gear and protection against the sun. During the winter, wear warm clothing. Sturdy hiking boots, with good ankle support, are also recommended when hiking the trail
- From Willcox, Arizona drive southeast for 20 miles on Arizona Highway 186 to the Fort Bowie turn off, then drive another 8 miles on the unpaved road to the Fort Bowie Trailhead. Be prepared to walk the 3 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.
- Nearest commercial air, and train service is avaialble to Tucson, Arizona.
Things To Do
Allow at least two hours for the Fort Bowietour. Return via the overlook trail for great views of the fort and the battle site. Wear sturdy walking shoes and bring water.
- The hike into the fort is part of the Fort Bowie experience. Visitors can get a sense of the lonely isolation that the soldiers experienced while stationed there. The trail also winds past remains of a Butterfield Stage Coach Station, the post cemetery, an Apache Wickiup, the Chiricahua Apache Indian Agency, Apache Springs, the original fort and finally the more elaborate Fort Bowie and the Visitor Center. A minimum of two hours is recommended for the round trip visit.
- While at the fort, visitors can tour the ruins of Fort Bowie, view the exhibits inside the Visitor Center, bird watch, and hike the trails.
- Picnic facilities are located at the trailhead and the Visitor Center.
Camping & Lodging
There is no camping or overnight facilities in the park. Closest accommocations are in the town Willcox, AZ. There are motels in Willcox, Az. For more information and a complete list. Click Here. (Rates, availability and reservation online)
Precautions, Rules, Regulations
It is the visitor's responsibility to know and obey park rules. Regulations are designed for visitors' protection and to protect natural resources.
- DesertUSA Trading Post
- The Chiricahua Apaches: Cochise & Geronimo
- Sojourn at Apache Pass
- Touring Apache Country
- Apache Spring
Location: Bowie, Arizona
c\o Superintendent Chiricahua National Monument
Dos Cabezas Route Box 6500
Willcox, AZ 85643
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