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.
- Dog leash