Area 51: Where is it located? UFOs and aliens on the Extraterrestrial Highway

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Joel Fulleda

Area 51, along with the city of Roswell in New Mexico, share a disturbing mystery. The secret underground military zone extends over a desert area that corresponds to the dried up bottom of Groom Lake, near Rachel (Nevada), on the Extraterrestrial Highway, 150 km north of Las Vegas. The very high level of secrecy to which the military aeronautical operations of an experimental nature are subjected that would be carried out here, has helped to create a sort of myth fiction which soon turned into UFO conspiracy theories.

Bizarre theories, of course, but not too much, so much so that many have wondered why the security measures should be so strict, if the American government (after having, among other things, denied the existence ofArea 51 for years) in 2003 admitted that the Groom Lake base, also called Dreamland, it is simply a test area for the spy planes of the U.S. Air Force and, originally, the CIA. Moreover, the US government, in 1995, acquired 3972 acres of land around the base to prevent access, land largely formed by the mountains that already naturally shield the military base.

In short, Area 51 has every air of hiding some secrets: looking at it with an objective eye, one is authorized to think that the very advanced American military technology; instead wanting to listen to the most suggestive rumors, one might think that the USA is really hiding something from us about the presence of aliens in the universe. Popular culture - also influenced by the cinematic imagination (Independence Day tells you something?) - has fed on these inferences, to the point that the impregnable Area 51, but above all the nearby Extraterrestrial Highway, has become a pilgrimage destination for curious visitors and UFO enthusiasts.

If you are among them, or we have intrigued you, this article could help you organize a visit to theExtraterrestrial Highway and, as far as it is possible to go before being rejected by the authorities, to the phantom Area 51. Let's find out how to take a tour… of the other world.


  • Area 51: where is the Extraterrestrial Highway located?
  • Extraterrestrial Highway: what to see?
    • Alien Research Center
    • Little A'Le'Inn
  • Area 51: where is it located? How to reach it?
    • Area 51: what happened to the Black Mailbox?
  • Area 51: UFOs and aliens on an organized tour from Las Vegas
  • Area 51 Nevada: where to sleep?

Area 51: where is the Extraterrestrial Highway located?

The only way to reach Area 51 is to take Nevada State Route 375, renamed in 1996 with the new name Extraterrestrial Highway, a tribute to the theatrical release of Independence Day: it is a 98-mile road that winds through the desert, connecting the towns of Warm Springs and Crystal Springs. To be sure, this road is off the beaten path of West Coast tours, which is why you can usually only reach it if you are really interested in visiting it, perhaps continuing on to Yosemite National Park or heading south towards Death Valley, passing through Tonopah.

From Las Vegas you have to go north on US-93 N for 109 miles: leaving behind the small towns of Alamo and Ash Springs (where, if necessary, you have the last chance to refuel), you have to take the a short stretch the NV-318 and then deviate almost immediately to the left at the next fork. You will understand that you have taken the Extraterrestrial Highway when, at the side of the road, you will notice a strange building surmounted by a giant alien silhouette: that is theAlien Research Center. From here, the actual highway begins.

Extraterrestrial Highway: what to see?

Here are the main ones attractions of the Extraterrestrial Highway:

Alien Research Center

As mentioned, you will notice this particular building right at the beginning of the street. It is worth taking a short detour to take some selfies with the mega-alien and to visit the building, which is actually a small museum with an attached sci-fi themed souvenir shop. While you're at it, you can stop at the road sign signifying the start of the Extraterrestrial Highway, lined with stickers and leaflets stuck by the alien hunters who have passed by before you.

Little A'Le'Inn

After traveling 40 miles in the most cosmic nothingness - at the limit you may meet some cows lost in the desert - you will arrive at Rachel, which is the main reference point for those traveling on the Extraterrestrial Highway. Here, a visit to the quirky bar-restaurant is a must Little A'Le'Inn, a sort of mecca for ufologists and lovers of Area 51.

In addition to eating one of the World Famous Alien Burger, it is really worth browsing inside the room, where there is the "Evidence Room", which consists of a series of photographs and videos documenting the sightings of UFOs in Area 51. Outside, there is the ' ID4 Monument, a time capsule placed in Rachel by the producers of Independence Day, which will open in 2050. In case you want to try to spot some aliens in the night of the Nevada desert, you can also ask the managers of the club for a room to sleep.

Area 51: where is it located? How to reach it?

Before telling you how to reach Area 51 - or rather, how to approach Area 51 - it is necessary to make a recommendation. Visiting Area 51 implies remembering that it is not a amusement park, but of an ultra-guarded military base: it is therefore necessary to adhere to the letter to the threatening indications that establish the insurmountable limit, beyond which it is absolutely forbidden to go, either by car or on foot.

There are two ways to approach Area 51:

  • reach the Front Gate. It can be reached via a dirt road called Mailbox Road (then we will explain the reason for this name), which you take by turning left 20 miles after Crystal Springs. The road then continues on Groom Road: after 20 miles of road in a hallucinatory landscape dotted with yucca plants reminiscent of Joshua Tree National Park, you will arrive at the Front Gate, at which you will have to stop. If the menacing "Keep out" signs from the US Air Force aren't enough, the Cammo Dudes, a guardhouse in the style of Men in Black which guards the entrance from the top of a hill and prevents the limit from being crossed. Try not to be seen while taking photos or videos: Cammo Dudes are allowed to commandeer your cameras, in compliance with the prohibition of photographing or filming. If you are lucky, you will also see the mythical pass White Bus, which brings in Area 51 personnel from nearby Alamo every day.
  • reach the Back Gate. A couple of miles before you get to Rachel, turn left onto Back Gate Road and walk it for about 8 miles, watching out for the cows: you will arrive at the Back Gate, a level-crossing entrance guarded by a large number of cameras. and the inevitable Cammo Dudes. Also in this case it is useful to point out that we must not get too close.
Back Gate dell’Area 51

Area 51: what happened to the Black Mailbox?

We have mentioned Mailbox Road, the dirt road that leads to Groom Road and the Front Gate. Until 2015, the detour was clearly visible thanks to the presence, on the side of the road, of a double white mailbox, which was once painted black: it was one of the most mysterious and fascinating attractions on the Extraterrestrial Highway, because, naively, it was thought to be the Area 51 mailbox. It was actually placed there by Steve Medlin, a ranch owner in the nearby Tikaboo Valley. There were two tapes: one was for Medlin, the other was for direct communications… to aliens!

La Black Mailbox it has been the target of vandalism over the years, until it was stolen, it is not known if by a UFO enthusiast or by a Martian. Once in a while you are relocated there by some enthusiast, but it doesn't take long for it to be removed or destroyed again.

Area 51: UFOs and aliens on an organized tour from Las Vegas

If you are in Las Vegas and can't resist the lure of science fiction, you can decide to take advantage of this great one organized tour from Las Vegas to discover Area 51: a guide will tell you all about the myth of the secret military base and UFO sightings. Also interesting is the visit of the secret terminal of the Janet Airlines, the mysterious airline "that does not exist": military personnel move to Area 51 in total secrecy from this terminal at the Las Vegas airport.

The excursion includes:

  • tour in SUV in the Nevada desert
  • visit at Janet Airlines at the Las Vegas airport
  • service pick-up e drop-off from your hotel (check if your hotel is covered by the service!)
  • lunch at the Little A'Le'Inn e snack
  • guided tour of the attractions of the Extraterrestrial Highway and at the entrance to Area 51

Click here for tour info

Area 51 Nevada: where to sleep?

Follow our tips on where to sleep in Las Vegas, which is undoubtedly the main point of reference for visiting Area 51. If you want to find accommodation near Area 51 and the ET Highway, you can sleep at Little A'Le. 'Inn or find accommodation in hotels in Alamo (towards Las Vegas) and Tonopah (towards Yosemite).

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