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“Wonderful way to spend a day!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Fort Bowie National Historic Site

Fort Bowie National Historic Site
Apache Pass Road, Willcox, AZ 85605
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Ranked #2 of 10 Attractions in Willcox
Type: Historic Sites, National Parks, Cultural
Activities: Hiking
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Attraction details
Owner description: Located here are the carefully preserved ruins of Fort Bowie, a focal point of the battle between the U.S. Army and the Apaches.
Phoenix, Arizona
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Wonderful way to spend a day!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2014

My husband and I recently toured southern Arizona and took in all the sites, including the hike into Fort Bowie. The 1 and 1/2 mile hike into the fort is not to be missed, if you are at all able. My husband is 69 and I am 55 and we did not find the hike strenuous although our feet were tired by the end of the day. We started the day with a good breakfast in Willcox, then we took apples, protein bars and water with us and that worked out well.

As you approach the fort ruins and visitors' center the hike is uphill, but it isn't for a very long distance. Most parts of the trail are fairly level, with a very brief incline at Apache Spring. There are markers along the trail which describe the significant events that happened at each location. We had both read several historical books about Ft. Bowie and the surrounding area, which greatly enhanced our experience. Seeing the site of the old Butterfield Stage station, the site of the "Bascom Affair" and the old cemetary where Little Robe (Geronimo's son) and many others are buried was sobering, fascinating and educational. One definitely gets a feeling of history here, as if the old souls are still hanging around. The hike in takes much longer than the hike out and the whole visit took us about 4 and 1/2 hours. We spent a long time in the cemetary and at the visitors' center, where we rested, had a snack and then walked around what remains of the old fort (just foundations really). While doing this once is probably enough, I am so glad to have been there!

Visited March 2014
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51 reviews from our community

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English first
Weiser, Idaho
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2014

We used the handicap entrance so we wouldn't have to walk as far. You can't be too handicap to use it since you have a small clime up hill to the visitor center but once there you get a lot of information. The ranger on duty was very informative. It was a cool windy day but worth it. Would have liked to go when it was a little warmer but still was enjoyable. Would like to do the other trail one day when or if we go back. There are lots of signs telling you what had been there in its day. Still adobe walls standing.

Visited January 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton, Canada
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Beautiful day for a hike”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2014 via mobile

You need study shoes water and a hiking stick would be a good idea too. The visitor center has many artifacts found at the fort. They also have a few pictures of what it originally looked like. The trail from the parking lot was easier then the trail back. If I was to go again I would take the same trail to and from.

Visited February 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glendale, Arizona
Top Contributor
211 reviews 211 reviews
63 attraction reviews
Reviews in 95 cities Reviews in 95 cities
147 helpful votes 147 helpful votes
“The BEST interpretive trail in AZ”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2014

We planned a trip just for this trail. I had done it previous, but my husband's first time. The trail takes you to the historic site, although you may arrange earlier for use of road in some cases. From the outset, the 1 1/2 mile trail in is wonderful. It sets your mind for what it may have been like for soldiers and families back in time; their isolation, difficulty with the elements, wares and Apaches. There are signs posted about every 1/4 mile, describing a primitive dwelling, flora, cemetery, area of past event, and other sights. Before even seeing the "newest" fort, I felt transported in time. It is high desert hiking, so prepare as needed and there isn't much shade. Spring and Fall are lovely times to go, particularly with the blooming ocotillo on the Overlook Ridge Trail, which starts from back of visitor center. Take that one back if able, also about 1 1/2 mile trail. Once at the final site, take a detour and see the first fort, pretty barren barracks. There isn't much standing of the forts, but the descriptive signage is well worth it. AND spend some time in the visitor's center. Very helpful staff and plenty of items to see in the center. See pictures of wildlife that come to drink at night. Sit awhile on the covered wrap around porch. Watch the center court flag wave in a slight breeze. Have lunch and start back out. We brought our dog, just put on leash. Take your time, we spent about 4 hours total. Just wonderful.

Visited February 2014
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Marana, Arizona, United States
19 reviews 19 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Great Visit”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2014

I am handicapped so I was very hesitant to visit Ft. Bowie. I contacted the Ranger station and they gave me directions for the handicapped entrance. I still had a few stairs to climb, but nothing like the 1.5 mile hike that is normal. It was very windy the day we visited, but was still very enjoyable. If you are interested in the Indian (Apache) Wars this is a must see.

Visited February 2014
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