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Originally established in 1862, this year marks the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Fort Bowie, a military outpost that was built during the decades-long conflict between the US military and the Chiricahua Apaches. Fort Bowie National Historic Site (NHS) will commemorate the establishment of the fort by hosting several events throughout the months of September and October.
The kickoff event will be Saturday, September 1, 2012. Join B Troop, 4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment (Memorial) from Fort Huachuca for a memorial service at the Fort Bowie cemetery. B Troop will ride in along the Butterfield Trail, arriving at the cemetery around 11 am. The troop commander will give a short talk and a reading of the names of those individuals who were buried at Fort Bowie, followed by a salute. Visitors are also invited to join a park ranger at 1:30 pm at the Fort Bowie visitor center for a tour of the second fort ruins.
Other special events scheduled for the month of September include ranger-led hikes into the site on Sunday, September 9 and Sunday, September 23. A park ranger will meet participants at the Fort Bowie trailhead on Apache Pass Road at 10 am. The hikes will focus primarily on the chronology of events that led to the establishment of the fort, including the Bascom Affair and the Battle of Apache Pass. All events are free and open to both individuals and groups. Commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the fort's establishment will continue into October, with special events offered on select weekends. More details will be released as available.
Fort Bowie NHS is open daily and does not charge an entry fee. The site is unique in that visitors must hike to reach the visitor center, as well as to see the cemetery and fort ruins. The distance from the trailhead parking lot to the cemetery is approximately ¾ mile (one-way), and the distance from the trailhead parking lot to the fort ruins and the visitor center is approximately 1½ miles (one-way). Hiking times vary, but visitors wishing to watch the memorial service at the cemetery on September 1 should depart from the Fort Bowie trailhead on Apache Pass Road by at least 10:30 am. The trail is well-marked and includes easy to moderate terrain.
Visitors are encouraged to bring picnic lunches and spend the day exploring and enjoying the area. The visitor center and bookstore are open daily. Western National Parks Association, the non-profit organization that operates the bookstore, will offer a 15% discount on all items in the store on September 1.
Weather conditions this time of year are variable, but visitors should bring plenty of water, sun protection, and comfortable walking shoes. People with limited mobility can contact the visitor center for more information about accessibility options.
Fort Bowie NHS is located off Apache Pass Road in southeastern Arizona. From Willcox, travel 22 miles south on State Route 186 to Apache Pass Road. Turn left on Apache Pass Road and travel eight miles along the dirt road to the trailhead parking lot. From Bowie, travel 14 miles south on Apache Pass Road to the trailhead parking lot. Apache Pass Road turns into a gravel road approximately 12 miles from Bowie.
For more information about events commemorating the fort's sesquicentennial, contact the visitor center at 520-847-2500 ext. 1 or visit www.nps.gov/fobo.