Monday, March 6, 2017

Fort Bowie National Historic Site Hike–A Hidden Gem


As we packed up the RV and started plotting where to go next I found a Passport America park about the right distance down the road. On travel days we like to drive under 200 miles per day  and I prefer 100-150 mile days whenever possible.  Therefore, Mountain View RV Park in Bowie Arizona was the perfect fit at only 116 miles east of us.


Even though we had to drive on Interstate 10, traffic wasn't too bad. We pulled into the RV park a few hours after leaving and one neat thing about the RV check in office was that it is also a store called Dwayne's. It had all kinds of goodies such as homemade jerky, honey, jams, pistachios of all flavors and even a variety of stuffed olives. While waiting to pay we sampled many of their products as they offered samples of most of the goods sold there.


We set up camp and had lunch then we decided to check out the nearby Fort Bowie National Historic Site. What intrigued us about this site was that in order to visit the old fort ruins it required a  hike of 1.5 miles in and 1.5 miles out. It would be a perfect 3.5 mile hike to round out our travel day.


We drove the 20 miles south to the Ft Bowie trailhead , donned our hiking boots and hit the trail. What a pleasant and scenic trail this turned out to be. This hike is truly a hidden gem and we highly recommend this hike to anyone near this area!


After spending a great deal of time in the Sonoran Desert we had become accustomed  to seeing lots of Saguaro cacti but not here. The Saguaro was replaced by the yucca, sotol and agave. We are also at a higher elevation so the creosote was replaced by lush grasslands.

The trail meanders through the desert grasslands and has many historical narrative plaques along the way. Even better for the plant lovers there is an occasional identification plaque low to the ground near the plant being identified. We noticed lots of birds skitting around so as spring nears this would be an excellent birding trail. I was able to stalk a spotted towhee for a photo but missed the western scrub jays.


About 1 mile in there is a rendition of the original cemetery near where the stagecoach once stopped. Most tombstones reflected how hard life was with many of the soldiers lives cut short by an Apache arrow. Many babies died here including those who were American Indian…


At the end of the 1.5 trail the ruins of the fort are scattered about the hillside. There is a small but very nice museum/visitor’s center at the site also. After perusing the artifacts we continued onto a trail right behind the museum which took us to the mountaintop adjacent to the ruins for a fabulous overlook of the entire site.


This trail continued down the other side of the mountain and reconnected later with the trail we came in on. By the time we got back to our car we had hiked just under 3.5 miles. Man what a great hike and what a great way to end a day of travel on our road of retirement…


  1. We really enjoy following your travels. Thanks so much for the info on Mexico (don't think we will be going there any time soon based on your re-entry experience!) This hike sounds like such fun and just the type of place we love to see. Nature + history ... doesn't get much better than that. Hope our paths cross sometime in the not so distant future.

    1. well we are heading east so maybe our paths will cross soon...

  2. Lots of wonderful gems to explore when we are on the road. Enjoy your time there.

  3. We are headed that way soon and plan to stay in Bowie. Thanks for the tip on the hike to Fort Bowie. We will add that one before heading to Chiricahua National Park.

    1. you will love the hike, make sure you so the overlook trail behind the visitor's center...

  4. Sounds like a trail we would diffidently enjoy! Thanks for the heads up.

  5. I'm sorry we had to miss seeing Fort Bowie when we were in Wilcox. There had been a lot of rain and the road was closed:(

  6. Fort Bowie is one of our favourite hikes, it's a really interesting place. On the road in from Bowie, Indian Bread Rocks is also an interesting place to stop, we believe there are some petroglyphs there, but have never managed to find them. Have fun!