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If you’re looking for a stretch of remote highway that sparks a tone of mystery combined with fun oddities, the Extraterrestrial  Highway is your road trip destination. Also known as Highway 375, this remote road is famous for its supposed UFO sightings and being the highway that gives access to the gravel entrances to Area 51. What could be more fun than quirky alien merch and possibly being arrested by military police? Sign us up!

The Adventure Begins

Our adventure along the Extraterrestrial Highway was part of an extended road trip we took to California from Missouri. On our journey. we’d just spent a couple of nights in Yosemite National Park followed by a stay at the Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nevada. You can click here to read about our stay at the Yosemite Valley Lodge and here to read more about the Clown Motel.

After the night at the Clown Motel, this drive was icing on the cake when it came to weird experiences in the Old West of Nevada. If it’s out of the ordinary, we’re typically down for it. And yes, the Extraterrestrial Highway is out of the ordinary.

Oh, and here’s a safety tip. Cattle have free range near and on the Extraterrestrial Highway. There are no fences. Watch out for the odd cow standing in the highway, especially after dark.

After our stay at the Clown Motel, we were up bright and early to start the next chapter of our road trip. Many people drive the highway in the opposite direction as we did, starting in Crystal Springs and heading west. It’s often a side trip from Las Vegas or maybe the Grand Canyon. But if you’re driving east, you’ll start your adventure in Warm Springs.

The Extraterrestrial Highway Sign

Extraterrestrial Highway

Each end of the highway has its own sign. We had the sign at Warm Springs all to ourselves. In fact, we had most of our time on the Extraterrestrial Highway to ourselves. This place is remote.

Above, Jeff poses with the stickered sign. It’s placed higher to keep people from putting on the stickers; people are resourceful, however. You can also see the vast nothingness behind him. And also, check out his fit. Yes, that’s a Perfection tee referencing Tremors.

Little A’Le’Inn

When you’re coming from the west as we did from Tonapah, the Little A’Le’Inn will be your first major encounter after the sign. Located in the small town of Rachel, this place offers a restaurant, gifts, lodging, and camping. We didn’t dine or stay the night, but we did stop to check out all the fun things to see. We also picked up a pamphlet that helped us navigate the stops along the highway. The pamphlet is handy because Internet access is nearly nonexistent on the Extraterrestrial Highway.

Little A'Le'Inn Extraterrestrial Highway

The first thing we noticed is that outside the restaurant, there are a lot of fun details to check out. The alien out front is pretty welcoming.

Little A'Le'Inn Extraterrestrial Highway

The flying saucer is cool. Some people have reported that it lights up, but it was not lit up when we were there.

Little A'Le'Inn Extraterrestrial Highway

The flying saucer on the tow truck is fun.

Little A'Le'Inn ET Highway

I love the sign here. You can also check out the monument to Project Oxcart. Apparently, the CIA A-12 Reconnaissance Aircraft was developed at nearby Area 51 in the 1960s. I’m the wrong person to consult about secret U.S. aircraft, so I won’t pretend to be knowledgeable on the subject.

A time capsule has also been installed nearby commemorating the making of the movie Independence Day which had some scenes filmed near the town. The time capsule is set to be opened in 2050.

Lil A'Le'Inn ET Highway

After we poked around the outside of the restaurant, it was time to go inside.

Little A'Le'Inn ET Highway

I love the dollars hanging over the bar.

Lil A'Le'Inn ET Highway

You’ll be able to browse the restaurant and see anything from photos to alien merch.

Little A'Le'Inn ET Highway

How awesome are all of these photos of UFO sightings?

Lil A'Le'Inn ET Highway

Soon, we returned to our adventure along the highway. Ignore the bug splats on the windshield.

Extraterrestrial Highway

Since our trip, a new business has opened along the highway–Alien Cowpoke Gas Station and General Store. It looks like fun, but we didn’t get to experience it. Maybe next time.

You can also drive up the back gate checkpoint road to Area 51from an unmarked road that meets the Extraterrestrial Highway that is just outside of Rachel. Look fro a gravel road that goes right as you come from this direction. This is the entrance with the famous horn that may be blasted if you get too close.

My advice? Heed the warning signs and don’t get too close. There are other consequences besides the horn blast for trespassing on a U.S. Air Force military installation, like heavy fines, being arrested, or getting shot.

The Black Mailbox

The Black Mailbox Extraterrestrial Highway

During our trip during the summer of 2022, a black mailbox was still present in the place where the legendary Black Mail Box has stood. off and on, for years. From what I understand, the Black Mailbox may be currently missing, but I’m sure a die-hard Extraterrestrial Highway/Area 51 fan will replace it.

Originally, the Black Mailbox was the actual mailbox of a rancher named Steve Medlin. After so many Extraterrestrial Highway fans tampered with it, he moved the mailbox closer to his ranch. At some point, someone installed a mailbox just for the fans. People leave all kinds of items for the aliens to pick up. Many times, stickers cover the mailbox, as well, although people have sometimes removed the stickers or spray painted over them. It seems that this had happened recently when we visited.

Here is a glimpse inside.

The Black Mailbox Extraterrestrial Highway

Of course, we left one of our blog cards in the mailbox.

The Black Mailbox Extraterrestrial Highway

Area 51

The next noteworthy stop is the road that leads to the entrance of Area 51. This road is also unmarked, but there is a stop sign for the traffic on the gravel road that leads to the Groom Lake entrance, also known as the front entrance, to Area 51. Coming from the Black Mailbox, it will be on your right.

The road to the checkpoint where you’ll stop for your Area 51 photo opp is about 12 miles, so be prepared to see a scene like the one below for a little while.

Road to Area 51

The desert terrain may seem a tad dull, but you will get the opportunity to see some amazing Joshua trees. So beautiful!

Road to Area 51

As we drove, we saw some aircraft flying above. Don’t forget that Area 51 is an active U.S. Air Force installation that is part of Nellis Air Force Base just north of Las Vegas.

Road to Area 51

Here is another shot of aircraft near Area 51. These didn’t seem out of the ordinary. I mean, people come and go, right? And I assume there are regular patrols and such that happen.

Perhaps it’s the testing of new technology and new aircraft, like the A-12 at the time of its conception, that spurs the rumors of UFOs in the area. But what do I know.

Road to Area 51

Eventually, we were near the gate. Here is one of the often noted white trucks parked atop a hill, presumably on watch; however, it appeared no one was in the vehicle at the time of our visit.

Area 51

Make no mistake; you’re being watched and have probably been watched since you tuned onto the gravel road.

Area 51

The locals told us before arriving at the Area 51 entrance that we would be fine if we didn’t cross the gateway or leave the road. So, we didn’t. Below is Jeff at the gate.

Area 51

We didn’t encounter anyone while we were there. And this entrance doesn’t have a horn, apparently. We took our pictures without incident and then went on our way.

There is some barbed wire to remind you to not leave the road, as you can see in the picture below.

Area 51

Alien Research Center

After we did Jeff’s Area 51 photo shoot, we headed back along the dusty road to return to the Extraterrestrial Highway. It was time for the next stop–the Alien Research Center.

Below, Jeff poses with a sign at the Alien Research Center that commemorates that time people were going to “storm Area 51.”

Alien Research Center

It’s worth noting that this isn’t a lab or some kind of museum; it’s a quirky gift shop with all things alien. But it’s a fun gift shop.

Alien Research Center

You’ll find all kinds of things, like alien Tequilia, alien honey, alien magnets (our favorite souvenir), alien hoodies, alien plushies, alien signs…well, you get the idea.

Alien Research Center

Kristin chose a scented rubber alien that she still has in her room. Jeff picked up an alien keychain that still hangs on our Camry’s keys. It also serves as a bottle opener. You have to appreciate multi-use items.

Neither of these are pictured. I just thought I’d share.

Alien Research Center

ET Fresh Jerky

The last stop on our Extraterrestrial Highway journey was ET Fresh Jerky.  Most people encounter this place first; it’s right near the junction where the Extraterrestrial Highway begins if you begin at Crystal Springs. Since the Extraterrestrial Highway is often a day trip from Las Vegas, most people travel in this direction and then turn around at A’Le’Inn.

ET Fresh Jerky is easily accessible if you don’t travel the Extraterrestrial Highway, as well.

ET Fresh Jerky

Apparently, this place continues to improve with murals and decor. It’s a fun stop with gifts and, well, fresh jerky.

ET Fresh Jerky

The decor at these stops is something that warms my road trippin’ heart. You have to appreciate the artistry and effort.

ET Fresh Jerky

Is it even a road trip if you don’t have places like this to see along the way?

Below is a closer view.

ET Fresh Jerky

The inside is even better.

ET Fresh Jerky

This place also offers all things alien. The items don’t overlap completely, so all the stops are worth checking out. There is quite a bit of variety.

ET Fresh Jerky

And then, there’s this.

ET Fresh Jerky

Love the bathroom signing!

ET Fresh Jerky

And like the last stop, we have the merging of fandoms. And pickles.

ET Fresh Jerky

Of course, we had to try the jerky. I mean, you kind of have to.

ET Fresh Jerky

Driving On Towards Zion National Park

After ET Fresh Jerky, the Extraterrestrial Highway adventure concludes for those who traveled from Warm Springs. Our next stop was Springdale, Utah, for our Zion National Park visit. The drive is not very exciting at first, but then things start to get gorgeous. I thought I’d end the post with a little bit of that drive.

Towards Zion National Park

This terrain is so intriguing to Midwesterners. Beautiful!

Towards Zion National Park

It’s hard to believe that this exists in the same country as where we come from.

Towards Zion National Park

It’s an amazing area for a road trip.

Towards Zion National Park

Simply stunning, right?

I hope you’ve enjoyed our Extraterrestrial Highway journey. If you’re wondering if you should go, I would answer, why not? If you’re into out-of-the-ordinary or out-of-this-world road trips, this may be the side quest for you. We were able to work it into our trip pretty easily, and I’m glad we did. It’s simply one of those places where you can say, “Yep, I’ve been there.”

And if you’re into UFOs or secret military installations, I think this trip is a no-brainer. Seriously, though, I love making memories like this with my family, and this is one of those awesome memories that I’m grateful to have.

Read about our other adventures on this road trip:

Staying at the Lodge at Bryce Canyon

Exploring San Francisco’s Chinatown

Touring Monument Valley

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Travel the Extraterrestrial Highway
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4 Comments

  1. I definitely want to explore the Extraterrestrial Highway! So many quirky stops and such beautiful landscapes.

  2. I never heard of the Extraterrestrial  Highway and am not surprised it runs close to Area 51. Great to pick up a pamphlet that helps guide your stops along the route. It would be wild to see so much ET paraphernalia available. And to even find ET Jerky! Might be a good spot to pick up some great costumes though.

  3. I actually have wanted to go on this Extraterrestrial highway. I was fan of Roswell in the 90’s

  4. Cindy Moore Reply

    Oh yes, I’d want to drive down the Extraterrestrial Highway! This is my kind of thing too. Looks like so many fun stops on the drive.

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