Bowie Travel Guide

  • Bowie, AZ.
    Bowie, AZ.
    by galaxyrain
  • How we entertained ourselves at Ft. Bowie
    How we entertained ourselves at Ft....
    by galaxyrain
  • What to expect if you visit.  This is it!
    What to expect if you visit. This is...
    by galaxyrain

Bowie Things to Do

  • Second Fort Bowie

    The second, and most famous, Fort Bowie was built near the first one in 1868. This was much more substantial than the temporary first Fort Bowie. Fort Bowie served well in the battles against the warring Chiricahua Apache until their surrender in the 1880s.

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  • Stage Station

    In 1858 a Stage Station was built here as a rest stop and a place to change mules or horses and enjoy a quick meal of bread, beans, meat and coffee for 50 cents. The route through Apache Pass was discontinued in 1861 due to increased tensions with the Chiricahua Apache.

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  • Laundress Quarters

    One of the buildings outside the walls of the first Fort Bowie was the Living Quarters for the ladies that did the laundry for the soldiers.

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  • First Fort Bowie

    There were actually two Fort Bowie's in this area. The first one was established by 100 men from the 5th California Volunteer Infantry in 1862. It was a crude affair consisting of a four foot wall surrounding a collection of tents and a stone guardhouse. There were also a few other buildings outside the fort wall.

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  • Parke Camp Site

    One of the earlier white men coming to Apache Pass was Lieutenant John Parke who came through here in 1854 to survey a route for the railroad. The next year, however, Parke found an easier route north of here between the towns of Bowie and Willcox and in 1880 the railroad was built through that point. Here you see wher Parke camped when he came...

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  • Indian Agency

    From 1875 to 1876, Indian Agent Thomas Jeffords maintained an office in the Indian Agency here near Fort Bowie. Jeffords was one of the few Indian Agents that was not corrupt and was fair to the Apache. Jeffords became friends with Cochise and was the only person allowed to attend his funeral rites that was not a member of Cochise's Clan.

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  • Mining in Apache Pass

    Soldiers and Apaches were not the only people living in the Apache Pass Area. Miners were here starting in 1864. Here you see the ruins of the home of Jesse L. Milsap, who mined in this area in the early 1900s.

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  • The Cemetery

    The post cemetery for Fort Bowie actually predates the fort. It was established in 1862 after the battle of Apache Pass when members of the California Volunteers were buried here. This cemetery housed soldiers, daependents, civilian employees, mail carriers and three Chiricahua including Geronimo's two year old son.

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  • Apache Springs

    The Chiricahua, and the Butterfield Stage, came to this area becuase of Apache Pass and Apache Springs. In the high desert the availability of water is very important. Apache Spring used to be an abundant source of water. In later years it has essentially dried up. Do not drink the water from the spring any more, because its purity is no longer...

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  • The Battle of Apache Pass

    On 15 and 16 July 1862 there was a big battle here at Apache Pass. There was a column of 96 California Volunteers were marching to the San Simon River to establish a Supply Depot. As they approached A[pache Pass, Cochise along with his ally Mangas Coloradas and about 160 warriors attacked the rear of the column. The volunteers counterattacked and...

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  • Apache Pass and the Bascom Affair

    The main way through the Chiricahua Mountains in this area was through Apache Pass. The Chiricahua Apache, and specifically the band with Cochise liked to camp near the pass and Apache Spring. In 1861 a boy from one of the nearby ranches was kidnapped and some livestock stolen. It was assumed that Cochise and his band had kidnapped the boy. On 4...

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  • Butterfield Stage Route

    In 1857 the United States Government commissioned John Butterfield to carry mail ober a 2800 mile route from St. Louis to San Francisco. The route of the Butterfield Overland Mail took it thorugh the heart of the land occupied by the Chiricahua Apache and the famous Cochise. For over two years the stagecoaches passed through Apache Pass on a safe,...

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  • Apache Dwellings

    The Chiricahua Apache lived in this area because of the plentiful game and the easy availability of materials for making their homes. The villages usually consisted of clusters of house called "wickiup". These wickiup were made with a simple frame of wood and then covered with beargrass or animal hides. They also built an open air shelter that they...

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  • Picnic at Fort Bowie

    There are picnic tables at the trailhead and at the end of the 1.5 mile hike next to the Visitor's Center.

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  • Visitor's Center

    Anyone who has seen very many of my pages know that I always say "Your first stop should be the Visitor's Center". Well not this time since the Visitor's Center is at the end of the 1.5 mile hike making it impossible to make that the start point. There are restrooms and water available and there is a small bookstore.

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Bowie Off The Beaten Path

  • galaxyrain's Profile Photo

    by galaxyrain Written Jan 25, 2009

    This historic park is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. I like to try to stop at every national park or monument and get my national park passport book stamped. Yea.....I'm a nerd. Well, anyway we stopped here and well, we were a little disappointed. However, we had a lot of fun on the way and goofing off. The 8 mile dirt road to the site takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r. You can't go more than 10 miles an hour. When you get there, it is nothing but a picnic table, bathroom, and mountains. There are ruins and wildlife to see if you go on the trails, but we didn't have that much time. My mom was with me and she didn't feel up to it. I think the trails take a few hours.
    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.

    Bowie, AZ. How we entertained ourselves at Ft. Bowie What to expect if you visit.  This is it!
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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Bowie Favorites

  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    by Basaic Written Dec 19, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: The main reason for stopping at Bowie, assuming you are not seeing family or friends, is to see the Fort Bowie National Historic Site. Fort Bowie was established because of the bitter conflict between the Chiricahua Apaches and the settlers coming west to seek their fortunes and expand across the country. For over 30 years Fort Bowie and the nearby Apache Pass were the sites of numerous battles resulting in the surrender of Geronimo in 1886 and the removal 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. Today, you can take a scenic 1.5 mile hike from the trailhead to the remains of the fort. This is an interpretive trail offering information about different things like the plant life in the area, the stagecoach line, the cemetery, and other items of historic or other interest. There are also a number of scenic views along the way. There is a different return trail you can take back to the parking lot. It goes up the ridgeline and offers a great panoramic view of the remains of the fort. Keep in mind, however, that the first 1/4 mile is steep and rocky and is not an easy walk.

    Fondest memory: The view from the ridgeline was spectacular.

    Fort Bowie Panoramic View
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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