Southern Arizona Sights


Fort Bowie National Historical Site

Fort Bowie National Historical Site Review

It's a bit of an outing to get to the site of Arizona's last battle between Native Americans and U.S. troops in the Dos Cabezas (Two-Headed) Mountains, but history buffs will find it an interesting hike with the added benefit of high-desert scenic beauty. Once a focal point for military operations—the fort was built here because Apache Pass was an important travel route for Native Americans and wagon trains—it now serves as a reminder of the brutal clashes between the two cultures. The fort itself is virtually in ruins, but there's a small ranger-staffed visitor center with historical displays, restrooms, and books for sale.

A 1.5-mile historic trail, moderately easy but rocky in some areas, leads to the visitor center and ruins. Points of interest along the way include the remnants of an Apache wickiup (hut), the fort cemetery, Apache Springs (their water source), and the Butterfield stage stop, a crucial link in the journey from east to west in the mid-19th century that happened to be in the heart of Chiricahua Apache land. The alternate trail, looping back to the parking area, is higher and affords nice views of the ruins and surrounding hills.

Updated: 05-22-2014

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