Hike to the Ruins of Fort Bowie

Details

Distance

3 miles

Elevation Gain

500 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Sara Sheehy

Hike to the ruins of Fort Bowie, a remote military post on Apache Pass.

Fort Bowie is an abandoned military outpost and the site of many bloody battles between the government and Native Americans. The fort and visitor center can only be reached on foot, which guarantees a quiet, uncrowded experience through this lovely canyon.

Begin at the trailhead on Apache Pass Road. The approach from the town of Bowie is paved until the last couple miles, and is suitable for a passenger car. The trailhead has bathrooms, picnic tables, and garbage cans.

Leashed dogs are allowed on the trail. The 1.5 mile hike in is easy going, with many stops to read interpretive signs and see landmarks such as the cemetery (look for the grave of Geronimo's young son, Little Robe) and a stage stop.

You'll crest a small hill as Fort Bowie comes into view. Stop at the visitors center to chat with the ranger on duty and see the set of false teeth carried off by packrats and excavated 100 years later (among other treasures).

Explore Fort Bowie before continuing on your way. For a gentle return, hike out the way you came in. For a birds-eye view of the fort, take the trail behind the visitor's center to return via Overlook Ridge. This trail meets back up with the main trail before reaching the parking lot.

Nearby camping options include Bonita Canyon campground at Chiricahua National Monument (reservations recommended) or free boondocking at Indian Bread Rocks just south of the town of Bowie. 

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Know for

Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Reviews

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ūü•áTop Contributor

8 months ago

an easier way

If you don't wish to hike, there is another way through a cattle ranch to reach the ruins.

ūü•áTop Contributor

over 3 years ago

Hikes in Arizona

Very nice walk to some very historic sites. Likes to visit the cemetery and the walk to the fort is very pleasant.

67 total saves

5.0/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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