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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fort Bowie National Historic Site

In February, and again in November we visited Fort Bowie National Historic Site.  The site is run by the National Park Service and only gets about 8000 visitors a year.  If you choose to visit, you'll likely have the place all to yourself.  There is a 1.5 mile hike to get there from the parking area, but along the way there are several ruins, exhibits, and other things like the burial plot in the cemetery of Geronimo's son. 
We also passed the ruins of the indian agency (above), an old stage station, and a recreation of a typical indian dwelling. 
There are actually the ruins of two forts.  The first fort was built as a defensive position to control Apache Spring, the only dependable spring in the area.  A few years later, the mission changed to an offensive one to chase the Apaches with cavalry units, and the fort was moved 300 yards west to a larger flat area.  The ruins of the second fort are the better preserved. 

 Here are the ruins of the first Fort Bowie.  Most people walk by the turnoff, but we took the time on our second visit to check them out.  There were lots of glass shards, pottery pieces, and metal scraps in the area of the first fort, while the second location is a little more "scrubbed".
The return trail takes you high up on a hillside, giving a good overview of the site. 
Here is Apache Spring.  Small, but dependable.  (my pictures got jumbled, so this is out of order).  Hiking to the fort gives the best history lesson, but for those who are unable to make the hike you can call ahead and arrange to drive nearly to the visitor center through the back way. 

Nearest City: Bowie, AZ or Willcox, AZ
Location: N° W°
Time Needed: 1/2 day if hiking, 2+ hours otherwise
Difficulty: Moderate (3 mile hike)
Kid Friendly:
Additional Info:

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