Aliens, UFO sightings, a top-secret government testing facility, moonlike terrain. Is it any wonder State Route 375 gained notoriety as the “Extraterrestrial Highway?” As this stretch of road runs parallel and extremely close to the borders of the Nellis Air Force Range’s top-secret Area 51, many who have traveled this section have claimed to have seen unidentified flying objects and strange activity in the area, blaming it on alien activity.
Additionally, engineer Bob Lazar told a series of colorful stories to Las Vegas television stations in the 1980s, recounting his experiences working on alien spaceships in the Tikaboo Valley, just south of the ET Highway. By the 1990s, a string of imaginative tales of the ET Highway and mysteriously secretive Area 51 became mainstream, prompting the publication of countless books and television appearances, even drawing in reporters like Larry King to rehash their experiences.
This thrilling string of unexplainable accounts is exactly what prompted this famous route to be renamed the Extraterrestrial Highway in 1996. Aliens or not, the lack of human life on the ET Highway is a bit eerie, with less than 200 cars traveling the route daily. While we are normally all about encouraging people to get off the road and dive into adventure, it is wise to stay on the pavement and not venture too close to the border of Area 51. Armed guards will quickly advise you to turn around, even though Area 51 doesn't “officially” exist.
If you’re interested in rubbing elbows with folks who call the area home, stop into the tiny community of Rachel, which is basically the halfway point along the highway. You’re sure to meet some interesting characters at the Little A’Le’Inn, and can even get your hands on some alien swag if you like. Also, it’s here that you can order themed treats like the Alien amber ale, or even count on this place for emergency fuel and supplies. But, travelers beware—you’re going to pay for it. As the only place to stop in between Tonopah and Alamo, prices aren’t exactly cheap. We always encourage people to travel with extra fuel when traversing the back roads of Nevada, but especially in this circumstance as resources are extremely minimal.
In addition to the zany town of Rachel, travelers can also pop into the Alien Research Center for some fun souvenirs to commemorate this unforgettable trek. Or, take our word for it and stop in at one of TravelNevada’s favorite roadside stops at ET Fresh Jerky in Hiko. As the “cleanest place to drop your toxic waste was in Area 51,” travelers can count on some delicious alien-themed jerky like Terrestrial Teriyaki Turkey and well…clean restrooms.
The ET Highway is certainly lonely, but the possibilities for your imagination to run wild are endless. Little green men or not, the region has some fascinating history, as the area was home to old atomic bomb testing, secret Defense Department airstrips, and gigantic sequestered tracts of military land with no public access. Pose next to the gates of the mysterious Area 51, grab an Alien coffee mug at the Little A'Le'Inn, pose with a gigantic metal alien at the Alien Research Center, or nab some delicious treats at ET Fresh Jerky...the photo ops on this route are endless. No matter how you do it, add this wacky, only-in-Nevada experience to your next Nevada itinerary. We’re sure you’ll come back with some stories of your very own.
Fun Fact: The trailer park in Rachel was the movie set for the 1996 box office hit Independence Day.
This 98-mile stretch of road is on State Route 375, beginning near Hiko and ending near Tonopah. Major intersections can be found at State Route 318 and US 93 as well as US 6 and Tonopah.