“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
– Carl Sagan
Area 51 Road Trip
In 1989, physicist Bob Lazar publicly claimed to have worked at a Top Secret “Flying Saucer Base” – Area 51 – over the mountains in Nevada. Since then, Area 51 has been featured in TV shows (60 Minutes) and numerous movies, including: Independence Day, Paul and Super 8. One of the most popular books on the subject was published in May 2011 – Annie Jacobsen’s “Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base.” It’s a fascinating account of the secret base. To this day, the U.S. Government won’t even acknowledge that Area 51 exists. We set out on a road trip from Las Vegas to see for ourselves.
Groom Lake and Area 51
Groom Lake Road leads to the restricted Groom Lake facility – a secret high-security Military Base. The Base is located within the geographical sector of the Nevada Test Site, once known as Area 51 – about a 2 1/2-hour drive from downtown Las Vegas. Look for an unmarked Dirt Road veering off to the right of Hwy. 375 at Post Marker LN 34.6. You can drive down this road for approximately 12 miles before encountering the “Restricted Area/No Trespassing” signs (as pictured above and below).
Whatever you do, DO NOT drive past these signs or you will be arrested…or worse! Punishment can be up to one year in prison and a $5000 fine. You won’t see any fences or gates, so be warned. Sensors and cameras are strategically located up on the hills and the “Cammo Dudes” (Military Police) are there patrolling the area, even if you don’t see them. We must admit, it was tempting to go further… but logic prevailed. Before you leave the area, be sure to take a picture of the “No Photography / Restricted Area / Warning” signs at the border of Groom Lake Road. According to Glenn Campbell’s “Area 51 Viewer’s Guide”, this is an Area 51 tradition… and who are we to break tradition. 🙂
The Extraterrestrial Highway
The Extraterrestrial Highway is also known as Hwy. 375. You don’t have to worry about traffic being a factor out there – it’s pretty deserted, especially during the week. We brought along Audio Books – it’s a great way to “read” a book and pass the time away while driving.
Rachel – UFO Capital of the World
Rachel – dubbed the “UFO Capital of the World” – continues to be a popular destination among UFO fans the world over, especially those who are attracted to Area 51 and UFO sightings in the area. During one of our visits to Las Vegas, we decided to rent a car and drive off into the desert to enjoy a day of adventure. We headed for the Extraterrestrial Highway and the Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel, approximately a 2 1/2 hour drive from the Vegas Strip. We stopped at Rachel’s Little A’Le’Inn for lunch – it’s a tiny town of about 100 people located along Highway 375.
You can’t miss the Little A’Le’Inn (pronounced Little Alien)… look for the Alien signs along the way. The casual Restaurant & Bar – open daily 8am-10pm – offers amazingly good hamburgers, appropriately referred to as Alien Burgers. Be sure to check out the walls – they’re covered with UFO photos. There’s even a small Memorabilia Gift Shop where you can buy UFO-related items, including books, candles, T-shirts, sweatshirts, postcards and other souvenirs. The A’Le’Inn also has a limited number of reasonably-priced motel rooms, should you decide to spend the night in Rachel. Needless to say, we didn’t see any UFO’s or Aliens… at least not real ones! But that’s not to say they’re not out there.
What To Bring
If you’re curious to see Rachel and Area 51 for yourself, here are some items we recommend you bring along prior to your trip: Detailed Nevada maps, plenty of bottled water, cell phone, binoculars, flashlight – and make sure you have a FULL tank of gas!
Area 51 Trivia
What is Area 51?
Area 51 is a “Top Secret Military Base” that sits inside the largest government-controlled land parcel in the U.S., the Nevada Test and Training Range – about a 2-hour drive from downtown Las Vegas.
How did Area 51 get its name?
Area 51 got its name after the infamous Roswell, New Mexico UFO crash that took place on July 2, 1947. The crash remains (including what many believe to be alien bodies) were sent from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to a secret place in the Nevada desert – in 1951. Hence Area 51. To this day, the U.S. Government won’t even acknowledge that Area 51 exists.
Who runs Area 51?
As for “who” runs Area 51, it started with the Atomic Energy Commission (formerly known as the Manhattan Project) and is now called the Department of Energy.
What goes on at Area 51?
What goes on at Area 51 today is anyone’s guess – it’s Top Secret! The heavily-guarded Area 51 is home to “black ops” – black operations that are secret to everyone who doesn’t have a “need-to-know”… and that includes the President of the United States, Congress, and the world population. What went on at Area 51 in the past includes building and testing the U-2 spy plane, reverse-engineering a Russian MiG 21 (and some believe a UFO or two), mock air battles, nuclear weapons and dirty bomb testings, A-12 Oxcart and F-117 Nighthawk stealth bomber testing, moon walk training, Predator drone testing… the list goes on and on – you just can’t write this stuff!
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The Best Time To Visit Rachel
The best time to visit Rachel is during Spring and Fall when the weather is more temperate – March-May and September-November.