In the belly of Nevada, surrounded by miles of undeveloped desert, lies a mystery that involves the alleged home of recovered alien spacecraft, extraterrestrial technology, and maybe even a few little green men on the federal payroll.
On this Extraterrestrial Highway road trip, you’ll run adjacent to Area 51 and a secret military base within Nellis Test and Training Range — so secret the government did not acknowledge its existence until 2013. As part of an active military base, it is patrolled and guarded by some of the heaviest security on Earth or anywhere else. That means what it’s NOT is a tourist attraction. Be sure to obey all posted signs and don’t even think about trespassing. You will be caught and you will be prosecuted. And let’s be real, no selfie is worth that kind of headache.
One thing is for sure: when you pilot your vessel along the wide open roads through this scenic, otherworldly wilderness with that warm wind in your hair (or antennae), you’ll appreciate why a visitor would travel across the galaxy to enjoy this kind of freedom on the ET Highway.
According to UFO lore, this is where the Pentagon has stored frozen extraterrestrials and recovered alien spacecraft, especially in an area on the base known as Groom Lake. Drive the Alien Highway just north of Area 51 — also known as the Extraterrestrial Highway or Nevada state Route 375 — and you just may see a UFO, as some have claimed.
Whether you depart civilization in Tonopah or make the “Kessel Run” up from Las Vegas (itself a different planet in some folks’ view), prepare to train your eyes for alien-themed everything—from curios to murals to vodka—and be sure to keep your ears open to the glorious humans who don’t need a phone to call these lovably odd locales home.
Head north from Las Vegas on U.S. 93: it’s about 109 miles (175 kilometers) to Crystal Springs, basically a junction where U.S. 93 connects to the ET Highway. Here, you’ll want to stop at ET Fresh Jerky, 12600 South U.S. 93 in Hiko, a roadside stop that sells jerky in such flavors as Teriyaki Time Travel. Get your photo taken next to the store’s cool alien murals, and you’re on your way.
You’re on the eastern end of the E.T. Highway and here's another photo op: the ET Highway sign. In 1996, Nevada state Route 375 was renamed the Extraterrestrial Highway and a public dedication was held in the community of Rachel in conjunction with the 1996 movie “Independence Day.” The movie, about an alien invasion of Earth, has humans making their final stand at none other than Area 51. Another movie that was formed on this infamous highway is “Paul.” If you love Seth Rogen, we recommend you check it out.
Just past the ET Highway sign on the north side of the road, is the Alien Research Center gift shop. You’ll know it from the giant alien statue next to the building - a silver Quonset hut. Snap another photo, and you’re on your way to Rachel.
Rachel, population 54 according to 2010 U.S. Census data, is home to the Little A’Le’Inn, a roadside stop that includes a bar, restaurant, and motel. Here, browse for alien souvenirs and take advantage of yet another photo op — the tow truck pulling a UFO- which is a permanent fixture in the Little A’Le’Inn parking lot. Got it? Good. It’s time to ramble on.
The ET Highway’s western end comes to a junction with U.S. 6. Continue on U.S. 6 (westbound) for about 50 miles into Tonopah, home of the Tonopah Historic Mining Park and the Central Nevada Museum to grab a place to rest your head.
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