Your Safety

Fort Bowie's elevation (5,000 feet) may require some acclimitazation. Drinking water is available only at the visitor center. Summer hikers should carry water and sun protection, since temperatures may climb above 100 (F). Summer storms may suddenly and briefly flood the washes. Simply wait out the high water. Avoid hiking when lightning is present. Also, be alert for the occasional rattlesnake. Call 9-1-1 if you have cell reception and have an emergency.
Two javelina on the trail
Keep a safe distance from all wild animals, included collared peccaries, also known as javelina.


How to Have a Safe Visit to Fort Bowie National Historic Site

  • Check the weather.
  • Have a plan, and stick to it. Leave your itinerary with someone.
  • Have a specific destination or turn-around time.
  • If hiking in a group, stay together.
  • If hiking alone, leave a note on your car with expected date and time of return.
  • Pace yourself, and know your own limits.
  • Bring the right gear.
  • Drink before you are thirsty.
  • If nauseous, dizzy, cold, or exhausted: eat, drink, rest, and shelter from the heat or cold.

Be Aware:

  • The altitude and elevation changes can make any length of hike more difficult.
  • There is little to no cell phone reception in the area. Do not rely on this as a rescue tool, and if you do get cell reception, response time can be hours.
  • Keep a respectful distance from all wild animals, and do not harass or antagonize snakes or other creatures. Amimals can be dangerous, venomous, or carry deadly diseases, like RABIES.

10 Essentials to Bring on Adventures:

  • Water: drink at least 1 quart/hour, and electrolyte replacements, especially in the summer. Avoid alcohol.
  • Food: eat plenty of salty snacks and carbohydrates.
  • First Aid Kit: bandaids, antiseptic, moleskin, emergency blanket, etc.
  • Map: while trails are well-marked, maps help you know where you are.
  • Compass: useful for navigation, even on trails.
  • Flashlights: with spare batteries, even if you plan to be back before dark.
  • Pocket Knife: for first aid use and other applications.
  • Hat/Sunscreen: to protect your head and skin.
  • Whistle/Signal Mirror: whistle three (3) short blasts in case of emergency.
  • Weather Appropriate Clothing: layers for rain, cold, or sun, and sturdy hiking shoes.
  • Hiking Poles: useful when going up or down steep trails.

What Can You Do When Exploring Near the Border?
Be Aware, Be Safe

Remember that cell phone service is usually out of range within park boundaries.

Know where you are at all times, follow good safety procedures, and use common sense when making decisions.

Do not pick up hitch-hikers.

Keep valuables, including spare change, out of sight, and lock your vehicle.

Avoid traveling on well-used but unofficial "trails."

Avoid hiking in areas of major border activity.

People in distress may ask for food, water, or other assistance. It is recommended that you do not make contact. Report the location of the distressed people to the visitor center, other park staff, or the Border Patrol.

Report ANY suspicious behavior to park staff or Border Patrol. Please do not contact suspicious persons, contact a Ranger for assistance.


Last updated: June 7, 2018

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 158
Bowie, AZ 85605



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