Road Trip: What to Do in Bowie, Arizona

Bowie, Arizona might seem like an unlikely place for a road trip, but if you’re interested in exploring old haunts during the Halloween season, this small town should be on your list of places to explore.

Bowie used to be a happening town but these days it feels more like a ghost town than a popular destination. The history here is rich with excitement and worthy of visiting. To get there, take I-10 East past Willcox. Then, follow the signs from the freeway to Bowie. While there, here are a few stops you’ll want to make.

The First and Second Fort Bowie

There are two Fort Bowie’s, believe it or not.

The first one was built in 1862 by 100 men in the 5th California Volunteer Infantry. There’s not much to this first fort. At the time of existence, it consisted only of four walls, a few tents and a stone guardhouse.

The second fort is more famous. This fort was built in 1868 and was strong enough to shield the troops in their battles against the Chiricahua Apache. Those battles went on for years until the Apache surrendered in the 1880s.

Both of these forts mark an important part of history as the United States soldiers moved through the western frontier.

“It provides insight into a “clash of cultures,” a young nation in pursuit of “manifest destiny,”and the hunter/gatherer society fighting to preserve its existence,” according to the National Park Service.

Apache Dwellings

In the forts, you’ll see how the soldiers lived. In the Apache dwellings, you’ll see how the apache lived before and during the war.

The Apache were comfortable in the Chiricahua’s because there was plenty of wildlife and a consistent water source from the Apache Springs. Their village was home to a cluster of houses called wickiup. These homes were made from wood, grass and/or animal hides. There was also an open air shelter for the warm summer months.

Take a walk through the dwellings to get a glimpse into the past.

The Fort Bowie Cemetery

The cemetery was established before the forts were built. The first three people buried here were three men who were part of the California Column, who were killed by the Apaches. During the years of fighting in the late 1800s, more people were buried here. The final person to get a gravestone in the Fort Bowie cemetery was a miner who was murdered after the forts both closed.

Contained in one picket fence, you’ll see years of historical tombstones that tell a tumultuous story of the region.

History Awaits You

Yes, Bowie might seem like an odd location for a road trip, but if you’re interested in visiting the ghosts of the past, it’s a great place to go. You’ll find plenty of insight into an important part of America and Arizona’s history by spending a day in this town.

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