Ever since the Roswell incident in 1947, the Nevada Desert has been famous for UFO sightings and the place to go to try to catch a glimpse of otherworldly beings. A road trip along the Extraterrestrial Highway is a unique drive through stunning remote desert scenery, filled with alien-themed stops and attractions.
The Extraterrestrial Highway is a 98-mile adventure from Crystal Springs to Warm Springs. The drive takes you past the Alien Research Center, the Black Mailbox, and the Extraterrestrial Highway sign in Rachel, and passes the infamous Area 51.
Traveling the Extraterrestrial Highway is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Keep on reading to learn about the best places that line the route where you can embrace the supernatural and make the most of this mystical road trip.
Where is the Extraterrestrial Highway Sign located?
The Extraterrestrial Highway Sign is located deep in the Nevada desert, near the small outpost of Rachel. The sign you see today is in fact a replica of the original, which is now on display at the Alien Research Center at Crystal Springs.
The original had to be removed as despite its extreme popularity, it was the target of repeated vandalism and even theft, but it was much missed by locals and visitors alike, so a replacement sign was erected in its place.
Rachel is situated just south of the midpoint of the Extraterrestrial Highway which stretches 98 miles through the desert.
From the north, the Highway begins at Warm Springs, around 60 miles from the sign, and the southern route along the highway begins at Crystal Springs, some 40 miles south of Rachel.
How to drive up to the Extraterrestrial Highway Sign
|Crystal Springs||40 miles||35 minutes|
|Warm Springs||60 miles||50 minutes|
|Tonopah||110 miles||1 hour 35 minutes|
|Las Vegas||150 miles||2 hours 15 minutes|
Whether you are leaving the bright lights of Las Vegas or making the journey south from Tonopah, the drive through the Nevada desert along the Extraterrestrial Highway is a fun-packed trip taking in many unusual and inspirational attractions along the way.
Driving up to the Extraterrestrial Highway Sign from Crystal Springs
The southern end of the Extraterrestrial Highway begins at Crystal Springs, in the heart of the Pahranagat Valley, and the journey to the replica sign at Rachel takes around 35 minutes to cover 40 miles.
The ET fresh jerky shop in Hiko is an excellent place to stock up on some out-of-this-world snacks before joining State Highway 375 - the Extraterrestrial Highway.
Shortly after leaving Crystal Springs, you'll pass the Alien Research Center, with its unmissable giant alien waiting outside to greet you. This is the place to go for information on all things extraterrestrial, and everything you need to know about Area 51 and the local area, as well as having an impressive selection of otherworldly souvenirs.
Continuing onwards through the desert, Mount Irish Wilderness decorates the northern skyline, and soon after passing Badger Mountain, you'll reach the famous Black Mailbox.
A popular meeting place for outer space enthusiasts, where many gather to search for UFOs, and even leave post hoping to communicate with visitors from Outer Space.
Leaving the mailbox, and passing Bald Mountain, the route heads to Coyote Summit, where the road climbs to over 5,500 feet on this mountain pass section.
A short 20-minute hike from the highway offers excellent panoramic views across the desert and is a perfect spot for viewing the many military aircraft that frequent the area, as well as looking out for alien craft. It is only a further 7 miles until you reach Rachel and the Extraterrestrial Highway Sign
Reaching the Extraterrestrial Highway Sign from Tonopah/Warm Springs
If you are heading to the Extraterrestrial Highway from the north, then the starting the journey from the Queen of Silver Camps, Tonopah, begins heading east along US-6, where you'll pass Kawich Peak before arriving at Warm Springs after 50 miles, where the Extraterrestrial Highway begins.
A right turn onto NV-375 takes you south passing Quinn Canyon Range HP and Reveille Peak as you head through the barren desert of Nevada towards Rachel.
As you reach Rachel, you'll see the iconic Little A'Le 'Inn on the right-hand side of the road, a place synonymous with the Extraterrestrial Highway, jam-packed full of alien memorabilia and an excellent place to stop and sample the alien-inspired food on offer.
As you head through Rachel, the Extraterrestrial Highway Sign is visible on the other side of the Highway.
The best viewing spot for the Extraterrestrial Highway Sign
The replica sign on the outskirts of Rachel can be accessed directly and parking close to the sign is possible, giving the best possible view of the sign.
There are alternative signs at the north and south ends of the Extraterrestrial Highway, and the original sign is available to view at the Alien Research Center, so you can't fail to get the best photo opportunity.
Can you park near the Extraterrestrial Highway Sign?
Driving the Extraterrestrial Highway through the barren Nevada desert landscape on wide open roads is unlikely to encounter many other vehicles.
With this in mind, it is possible to pull over off the Highway and park in the layby adjacent to the Extraterrestrial Highway Sign. It is free and perfectly safe to do so, just be careful not to stray too close to the highway when looking for the perfect snapshot of this iconic sign.
Things you need to know about driving up to the Extraterrestrial Highway Sign:
- Driving the whole length of the Extraterrestrial Highway will take several hours depending on the number of stops, so be sure to stock up on water and snacks before driving in the desert, especially in summer.
- With a few towns along the route, and little chance to stop for gas, avoid the risk of running dry in the desert by filling up before the journey.
- The Highway passes Area 51, the US government base, which is highly protected, where entry is illegal. Whilst it has never been classified as a secret base, the research that takes place here is Top Secret. Don't get too close to the base as security is strict and you may risk prosecution. The Area is heavily signposted so obeying the rules will ensure a trouble-free journey.
- There is a gas station and general store in Rachel, along with a campground and RV hookup making it an ideal place to spend the night gazing at the desert sky looking for paranormal activity.
Things to see once you reach the Extraterrestrial Highway Sign
The drive through the desert to the Extraterrestrial Highway Sign passes many unique little towns and the infamous Area 51, with the most amazing scenic desert and mountain views throughout.
Below are some of our top suggestions to see and do when traveling along Nevada's most intriguing route.
- Alien Research Center - Situated in Hiko, the gateway to the Extraterrestrial Highway, this is the perfect place to find out more information on the area, chat with locals, the owners, and other alien hunters and get your hands on some alien apparel, and souvenirs.
- Little A'Le'Inn - an ideal place to stop for lunch, or spend the night at the motel, where everything is alien-themed. Enjoy an alien burger amidst the alien-themed decor, and browse the alien merchandise and memorabilia in this totally unique little inn.
- Desert Stargazing - In the heart of the Desert away from the light pollution of the city, witness millions of stars as you've never seen before in one of the best places for stargazing on earth..... and if you're lucky, maybe a UFO too
- Nevada National Security Site Tour - Take a tour of the old Nevada Test Site, home to hundreds of nuclear tests, and see the specially built town of Mercury, Frenchman Flat, and the impressive Sedan Crater, one of the largest man-made craters on earth.
- Tonopah - Visit Tonopah and explore the town for its paranormal spirits, especially at the Clown Motel and Museum, and the Mizpah Hotel. Take a tour of the Historic Mining Park before exploring the many murals and monuments of downtown Tonopah.
A trip to the Extraterrestrial Highway Sign is a fun way to explore the barren Nevada landscape, scattered with Joshua trees, salt flats, and miles and miles of long desert highways.
Learn all about conspiracy theories, UFO cover-ups, and alien landings, and keep your eyes peeled for flying saucers on what might well prove to be a very magical mystery tour.