Get As Close To Area 51 As Possible On This Scenic Otherworldly Nevada Road Trip

Staring out over what looks like a vast and empty desert landscape can evoke feelings of being on another planet; however, picturing aliens, UFO crashes, or government cover-ups may stretch your imagination. Yet, these two concepts seemingly converge at the dried salt bed known as Groom Lake and the Homey Airport near Rachel, Nevada. You may know the location, the most famous alleged UFO cover-up testing site, by its more popular name: Area 51.


While aliens likely don't bop along in the desert, another feature has captured the public's curiosity for decades: an out-of-sight U.S. Air Force installation at the end of a long dirt road. The CIA declassified documents pertaining to Area 51 in 2013, but that has done little to lessen outside interest or decrease the sense of isolation and secrecy. The base, which requires a special government security clearance to enter, uses a potent mix of signage bearing ominous warnings, electronic surveillance systems, and guards toting firearms to discourage people from visiting. The Google Maps satellite view shows Area 51, yet commercial flights cannot access the airways above the base.

While you can't visit the actual Area 51, you can still enjoy the alien test site experience and the novelty that goes with it. Nevada's Extraterrestrial Highway offers up a host of alien-themed attractions, perfect for posing for hilarious photos. Over the years, rumors of people disappearing from the Extraterrestrial Highway have been retold like any eerie legend. However, the stretch of road is far from a straight-faced affair.


Get your alien fix on the Extraterrestrial Highway

The Extraterrestrial Highway, a 100-mile loop known as State Route 375, runs past the Nevada Test and Training Range and the Nevada National Security Site. The highway hosts many places rich in UFO culture, conspiracy theories, and a few aliens waiting to greet you along the journey. A popular way to reach the highway is from Las Vegas, roughly 2.5 hours to the south. You'll also have the opportunity to check out some of the lovely national parks in close proximity to Sin City. The fun begins once you reach Alamo. Get some selfies by the Extraterrestrial Highway sign and check out E.T. Fresh Jerky in Hiko, where you can load up on alien jerky for the ride. The alien murals at the latter and a separate boulder painted with aliens along the road will surely get you pumped for the rest of your trip.


Make your next stop the Alien Research Center, where you can pick up UFO souvenirs, grab a bag of Alien Coffee, or even Alien Tequila while you shop. The giant Martian loitering near the store is a nice touch. As you continue down the road, check out the famous Black Mailbox, where earthlings leave letters for otherworldly visitors to collect. You will find the highly-rated Little A'Le'Inn, which includes a motel, RV park, restaurant, and bar in Rachel, the next town on your journey. The menu is out of this world, as is the UFO in the back of the tow truck outside.

Otherworldly camping, clown motels, and more

You could drive the Extraterrestrial Highway in less than a day roundtrip from Las Vegas. However, this would not give you much time to get out and look at anything. For a truly otherworldly experience, consider spending the night in the town of Rachel at Little A'Le'Inn. Despite the "Earthlings Welcome" sign out front, the Little A'Le'Inn looks like your average motel, but you can rent a campsite there and tell spooky alien stories for the evening while gazing at the immense sky over Nevada. Bring your portable telescope so you don't miss any UFOs among the stars. Additionally, these five items will help make the camping portion of your trip quick and easy.


Alamo also offers lodging options at the unique Sunset View Inn, where each room has a different theme. Probably the wildest and creepiest choice is the "world famous" Clown Motel in Tonopah, where everything inside is, you guessed it, clown-themed. Expect to see a large gathering of creepy clown dolls. While you're there, Tonopah is a neat, alien-free mining town with plenty of attractions. For an extra brush with the extraterrestrial, consider taking your travels another 13+ hours southeast to Roswell, New Mexico, where the whole town is alien-themed and even has some interesting footprints on the sidewalk for you to follow. Until then, remember: the truth is out there.