Last Water on the Devil's Highway (Paperback)

A Cultural and Natural History of Tinajas Altas (Southwest Center Series )

By Bill Broyles, Gayle Harrison Hartmann, Thomas E. Sheridan, Gary Paul Nabhan, Mary Charlotte Thurtle

University of Arizona Press, 9780816530830, 304pp.

Publication Date: February 6, 2014

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (12/1/2011)

List Price: 26.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


The Devil’s Highway—El Camino del Diablo—crosses hundreds of miles and thousands of years of Arizona and Southwest history. This heritage trail follows a torturous route along the U.S. Mexico border through a lonely landscape of cactus, desert flats, drifting sand dunes, ancient lava flows, and searing summer heat. The most famous waterhole along the way is Tinajas Altas, or High Tanks, a series of natural rock basins that are among the few reliable sources of water in this notoriously parched region.

Now an expert cast of authors describes, narrates, and explains the human and natural history of this special place in a thorough and readable account. Addressing the latest archaeological and historical findings, they reveal why Tinajas Altas was so important and how it related to other waterholes in the arid borderlands. Readers can feel like pioneers, following in the footsteps of early Native Americans, Spanish priests and soldiers, gold seekers and borderland explorers, tourists, and scholars.

Combining authoritative writing with a rich array of more than 180 illustrations and maps as well as detailed appendixes providing up-to-date information on the wildlife and plants that live in the area, Last Water on the Devil’s Highway allows readers to uncover the secrets of this fascinating place, revealing why it still attracts intrepid tourists and campers today.

About the Author

Bill Broyles is the author of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument: Where Edges Meet and Our Sonoran Desert, and co-editor of Dry Borders: Great Natural Reserves of the Sonoran Desert. Thomas E. Sheridan holds a joint appointment as professor of Anthropology at the Southwest Center and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arizona. A MacArthur Fellow and recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Conservation Biology, Gary Paul Nabhan is Director of the Center for Sustainable Environments at Northern Arizona University. Mary Charlotte Thurtle was the field director for the Tinajas Altas Archaeological Survey in 1998.

Praise For Last Water on the Devil's Highway: A Cultural and Natural History of Tinajas Altas (Southwest Center Series )

"The authors expertly collaborate in documenting this strangely beautiful but inhospitable area of the Sonoran Desert, a place unlike any in the world."—New Mexico Historical Review

"The authors are all experienced writers and researchers, and they spare none of their expertise in producing this work. Their efforts regarding this corner of Arizona make fine reading for those with an interest in the Sonoran Desert. Last Water on the Devil's Highway, with its wonderful collection of photographs, will make an excellent addition to any Arizonan's library."—Journal of Arizona History