Set in a peaceful desert valley, the remaining stone walls of this 1930s ranch house in the Tucson Mountains reminds passing hikers of the challenges of a bygone era.
The Bowen Homestead, also called the Bowen Stone House, was constructed at this secluded and remote location in the early 1930s by Sherry and Ruby Bowen. At the time, Sherry was the city editor at the Arizona Daily Star. The couple decided to move out West for Ruby’s health and start a homestead in the hills of the Sonoran Desert, eventually expanding their land to some 2,000 acres.
They built a stone ranch house, of which only the foundation walls remain today, having withstood the desert winds, heat, and storms for more than eight decades. You can see traces of old fireplaces, and the empty frames of what were once huge picture windows where the Bowens would have looked out at the cacti and mesquite trees that dot this rustic landscape, admiring the wild horses, deer, sheep, and other animals that came to graze in the valley.
Incorporated into Tucson Mountain Park in 1983, the homestead now greets hikers trekking the Yetman Trail, providing a brief glimpse into the family’s rugged existence during the Great Depression and World War II. As an interesting side note, the couple’s daughter Gloria, who was born at the ranch, grew up to become a renowned ballerina.
Know Before You Go
The approximate 1.5-mike hike from the Camino del Oeste Trailhead to the homestead is fairly level and passes through beautiful scenery. Be sure to adhere to the various no trespassing signs near the start of the trail and bring plenty of water. A second option is to take the Bowen Trail to the Yetman Trail.