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Hike into history

Along with your usual trail guide, you might want to bring a history book while hiking Fort Bowie Loop near Wilcox.

This is the perfect time of year to take this hike, as a last wander through Southern Arizona before it gets too hot and the lakes of the Rim once again become the perfect destination. It's quite a drive, so you might want to tie the hike into a larger road trip/adventure.

The remains of Fort Bowie dot this 6-mile hike. The fort was built during the Apache Wars in the mid-1800s. The wind-eroded stone and mud walls are a reminder of the people who once lived here -- both the native Chiricahua Apaches and the white soldiers who battled them for control of this area.

The trail itself has very little elevation gain, is well-marked and an all-around easy hike. Along the 6-mile loop, you'll see the ruins of the Apache Pass stagecoach stop, the gravestones of white soldiers killed in battle and the ruins of the actual fort, built in the 1860s.

To get to the Fort Bowie National Historic site, take I-10 East out of Phoenix toward Tucson.

Take exit 336 toward Wilcox, turn onto AZ 186 and follow it for 21 miles until you reach Apache Pass Road and a sign directing you to the trail.

Regardless of the ease of a hike, you should always let someone know where you are going and when to expect you to return. Take a cell phone, plenty of water and dress in layers as the weather can still change quickly during the spring.

Stay on the trail or keep it within sight if you step off of it to get a special photo.

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