Followed by a series of bungled decisions
Cochise escaped and retaliated in all out war against the white
settlers. The region was then too dangerous for stagecoach travel and
was discontinued. As the
attacks increased, Fort Bowie was established on the station site to
help fight against the
The fighting would continue for the next eleven years before peace was
once again to be found with the
Battle of Apache Pass was fought near here on July 15 and 16,
1862, when Union regiment under the command of General James Henry
Carleton was ambushed by a band of
while en route from
where they were to confront Confederate troops.
began on Fort Bowie in 1862, it resembled more of a temporary military
camp than a fort. However, in 1868, more permanent buildings were
built and the fort became the focal point of military operations for
more than 30 years.
were finally subdued with the surrender of
Geronimo in 1886 and the Chiricahuas were banished to Florida and Alabama. The fort then
returned to use as a travelers’ stop until it was totally abandoned in
1894. In 1911 the land was sold for $1.25 to $2.50 an acre and
many of the buildings dismantled.
In 1964, the site was authorized as a
National Historic site. Today, the remains of Fort Bowie are carefully
preserved, as are the adobe walls of various post buildings and the
ruins of a Butterfield Stage Station. The site is located on the
Apache Pass Road which can be accessed from Interstate 10 near
Arizona or from
Highway 186 just north of the entrance to Chiricahua National
Monument. Access to the ruins of Fort Bowie and the visitor center is
via a 1.5 mile foot trail which begins at a parking area along
Apache Pass Road.
hike in to the fort is part of the Fort Bowie experience, where visitors
can get a sense of the lonely isolation that the soldiers experienced
while stationed there. The trail also winds past remains of a Butterfield
Stage Coach Station, the post cemetery, an
Wickiup, the Chiricahua
Agency, Apache Springs, the original fort and finally, the more elaborate
Fort Bowie and the visitor center.
minimum of two hours is recommended for the round trip visit. While at the
fort, visitors can tour the ruins of Fort Bowie, view the exhibits inside
the visitor center, bird watch, and hike the trails. Picnic facilities are
located at the trailhead and the visitor center.