Among the ruins
Walking the trail to Fort Bowie is a journey through the history of the American West. Visitors will pass by the ruins of the Butterfield Overland Mail Stage Station, the first Fort Bowie site, the site of the Bascom's Camp, the still-flowing trickle of water coming from Apache Springs and the post's cemetery. When the post closed in 1894, some 112 graves were believed to be present. Today, between 23 and 33 bodies remain interred in the earth of Apache Pass, including Little Robe, the son of Geronimo who died on Sept. 10, 1885, of dysentery at the age of two, while a prisoner at Fort Bowie.
When arriving at the saddle of Apache Pass today, visitors will find a barren landscape with the foundations of the 74 historic buildings that once stood here and nearly a dozen adobe and stone wall ruins. Because the National Park Service has purposely engaged in very little development at the site, the integrity of the historic setting still remains. The walk, along with the remoteness and still-open vistas, allow visitors to sense the history that once occurred here. Walking through the ruins of the Cavalry Barracks, shown here, still gives a sense of the challenging military assignment once found at Fort Bowie.
Visiting Fort Bowie
The howling winds that still ripple the flag above the abandoned parade grounds of Fort Bowie help visitors sense the remoteness of this place along Apache Pass. The hot summers and cold winters and the transitional flora and fauna from two vast deserts all made living and working here a challenge for people of all cultures. Visiting Fort Bowie is still as much an emotional experience as an intellectual endeavor.
Plan your trip
A modern visitor center staffed with park rangers welcome all who complete the hike to Fort Bowie. Fort Bowie is open to visitors every day except Christmas and New Years, from 8:00 a,m. - 4:30 p.m. local time. There are no fees to visit this historic site. Visitors should be sure to wear good hiking shoes and a hat, and bring along water to drink. There are no food services nor gasoline available at Fort Bowie.
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