A Most Unique Park: Fort Bowie (two photos) / by Dave Hileman

To begin you must walk 1.5 miles (mostly up) to the visitor center (visitors in 2012 numbered only 7700). That is after driving along a remote gravel road for some distance to get to the wide spot on the road where you park. And the first sign you read says to be very careful of rattlesnakes and mountain lions. Oh goody. It was hot, it is very dry and off we set. The coolest thing about the walk is that you are on the old Butterfield Stage route and a portion of the Pony Express Trail. On the walk you pass the stone foundation of the old stage station, Apache Spring (the reason all this was here) both the old fort and the "new" fort and the scene of many battles and attacks with the Apache and their chief, Cochise. Stages, Pony Express riders, miners, soldiers and travelers were often attacked and the fort was built to offer some protection. The cemetery at the fort held many victims and some indians as well. The spring was the only reliable source of water for a great distance and hence was very valuable. 

 On the trail. 

On the trail. 

 The sign to the park along a remote road. 

The sign to the park along a remote road.