Fort Bidwell is located near the north end of the Surprise Valley. The community's ZIP Code is 96112 and elevation is about 4,564 feet (1,391 m). The coordinates for the town are . The airport, (FAA identifier: A28), is about 1-mile (1.6 km) north of the center of the community at . The Fort Bidwell Indian Community is affiliated with the Paiute nation.
The Fort Bidwell post office opened in 1868. The place began as a military outpost called Camp Bidwell. It was built in 1863 amid wars with the local Native Americans.The outpost's name was changed in 1879 and it was demilitarized in 1893. A 1913 book described Fort Bidwell as having a population of about 200, and containing a school and reservation for the Paiute people.
Wired telephone numbers in the community follow the format (530) 279-2xxx or 279-6xxx and appear to be served out of the Cedarville central office. Wired telephone service is provided by Citizens Utilities.
In the state legislature Fort Bidwell is located in the 1st Senate District, represented by Republican Dave Cox, and in the 2nd Assembly District, represented by Republican Doug LaMalfa. Federally, Fort Bidwell is located in California's 4th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +11 and is represented by Republican John Doolittle.