National Historical Site
1964: National Historical Site
About the SiteThis is a barren pass in southeast Arizona, important only because of a small source of water. Were it not for Apache Spring, a long string of emigrants and prospectors and soldiers would never have come this way. But the spring exists to this day, one of the few remaining testaments to the sordid history of Puerto del Dado, the Pass of Chance.
What You're Going to SeeRuins. I don't like it when what is promised is not delivered, but that's what we have here. Fort Bowie was constructed of adobe, and at one time consisted of 40 or so buildings. However, except for a small rectangular stone structure that served as an armory, all you're going to see is stumps of walls. No ceilings, no floors, just grass growing around the 2- to 3-foot-high walls. All this, after a 1.5 mile hike from the parking area!
Personal ObservationsWow. The first true one-subbie Treasure that I've seen. My kids and wife were good sports, but I owed them big-time after spending nearly three hours at Fort Bowie. The weather was wonderful, even at an elevation of 5,000 feet. I wouldn't want to hike this in the summer. The hike itself is mild, our six-year-old had no trouble, though Dad did carry him a little on the return walk.
Getting ThereFrom Tucson, go east on I-10 to Willcox. Take Highway 186 southeast to the Fort Bowie turnoff. It's a graded, unpaved eight-mile drive to the parking area. There are bathrooms at the trailhead, and water.
Nearby Attractions10 miles to the south, as mentioned, is Chiricahua National Monument. About 70 miles to the southwest is Coronado National Memorial, and about 100 miles west southwest is Tumacacori National Historic Park. About 70 miles due west is Saguaro National Park, and so is Kartchner Caverns State Park. About 90 miles to the northeast, in New Mexico, is Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.