Ever secretly dreamed of a close encounter of the third kind? Are you curious as to whether humans are alone in the universe? Or are you just a massive fan of "The X-Files"? Whatever your reason for wondering about alien life, the best way to get some answers is to find them yourself, and there's no better place to conduct your research than the Extraterrestrial Highway. Also known as Nevada State Route 375, the 98-mile stretch of road has had so many reported UFO sightings that the state eventually started referring to it as the Extraterrestrial Highway. Though this trip is short enough to be done in one day, we've added a few other extraterrestrial hotspots you may wanna visit while you're in the area.
If you go a little beyond the Extraterrestrial Highway, you'll find a great space-themed gem: The Lunar Crater National Natural Landmark. Full disclosure: It wasn't formed by a UFO, or even by a meteor. The volcanic crater got its name because it looks like the surface of the moon...and you can totally picture homesick Martians stopping by the barren desert formation to see some familiar landscapes.
Right on Highway 95 is the Death Valley Inn, a modest motel that's just a few minutes' walk to downtown Beatty, Nevada, and is less than 10 miles from Death Valley National Park, which experiences quite a few otherworldly phenomena, including the "Sailing Stones" which are rocks that somehow move on their own-- science still isn't sure how they do it. The motel offers free wifi, an outdoor pool, a whirlpool and BBQs, as well as an onsite RV park.
Most notably, Area 51 is just off the route, and it's a mecca for UFO enthusiasts. As a warning, it's illegal to trespass on the land surrounding the top-secret base. But, there are trails to hike that will give you a good overview of the iconic hotspot-- the top of Tikaboo Peak is the most popular.
Once you reach Hiko, Nevada pull over at the Alien Research Center. It's closed Sunday mornings, and you should probably call before heading down, just in case, but it's worth the stop. They have loads of awesome UFO and alien-themed souvenirs, and an actual research area. Plus, the outside offers a pretty awesome photo-op, even if the place is closed.
Next you'll come to the Little A'Le'Inn. This is one of the most famous stops along the drive. The diner is adorned in all kinds of alien kitsch, and you can browse the gift shop for loads of UFO-themed merchandise. And, if you chat up the waitstaff, they'll probably tell you about various alien encounters along the road, the craziest conspiracy theorists they've had stop by, and maybe, if you're lucky, the best way to check out Area 51. Also, do yourself a favor and order the “Alien Burger.”
If you're really dedicated to seeing some UFO action, hike to the top of nearby Tikaboo Peak...it's the only legal place to view Area 51, which is surrounded by mountains virtually on all sides. The steep hike will take about two hours, so best to come prepared with flashlights and other supplies.
And, if you're in the mood for some extraterrestrial camping, pull in for the night at Lower Pahranagat Lake Campground. It's in a pretty remote and isolated part of the state, which is perfect for uninterrupted UFO-spotting and stargazing.
The Extraterrestrial Highway also has tons of supposed UFO crash sites along the way. Naturally, these aren't much to look at now (because, depending on who you ask, the government scrubbed the areas of evidence years ago, or nothing happened), but maybe being in the area will improve your chances of a sighting. Keep your eyes peeled at all times! One alleged site is in Ely, Nevada, another is in Kingman, Arizona, and two are in New Mexico.
We highly suggest camping or RVing the route as a day or weekend trip from Las Vegas...being in a campground further away from urban areas increases your chances for abduction. Plus, the stargazing in this part of the country is unbeatable, thanks to the remote location and lack of light pollution!