If you don’t know what you’re looking for, State Route 375 may seem like an ordinary stretch of road, but for those who believe in alien life, this is a pilgrimage site better known as the Extraterrestrial Highway!
Located in south-central Nevada, State Route 375 spans a total of 98 miles between the towns of Warm Springs and Crystal Springs and it is punctuated by desert landscapes, empty roads, and a few quirky attractions worth a visit.
I started out my drive from Alamo, where I had previously spent the night and after fueling up at a station with a giant green dinosaur (I thought we were looking for aliens here), we began the journey north along the Great Basin Highway.
This blog post is going to share some of the attractions I visited along the Extraterrestrial Highway, and trust me, there are some real gems out here!
ET Fresh Jerky
Our first stop on the Extraterrestrial Highway was ET Fresh Jerky. This is a snack and restroom stop with a sense of humour. The first thing that caught my eye was the giant billboard inviting you to, “Drop your toxic waste in the cleanest restrooms in Area 51”!
Inside we found an array of alien-themed snacks, including bottles of martian soda, but we eventually settled for a pack of mango slices coated in chilli pepper and some Teriyaki Time Travel jerky. Other flavours included Most Wanted Cowboy, Hell Hole Hot, and Buffalo Blitzkrieg.
After paying for our purchases, we chatted with the lady who runs the shop and she told us all about the international travellers she’s met. We were her first Canadians of the day, and like all guests who pass through here, we were invited to sign her wall and leave a message for aliens.
Out front, we got our Insta-game on by the alien-themed mural. Judging by the look of it, aliens like to blend in as cowboys around these parts!
Address: 12600 US-93, Hiko, NV 89017
Extraterrestrial Highway Sign
Loaded with snacks to last us the drive, we continued on to our next stop of the day.
If you’re driving the Extraterrestrial Highway and you want some photographic evidence to prove you’ve done so, you’ll want to plan a quick stop at the ET Highway route marker.
There are a handful of these signs scattered along the drive, but the most famous of them all is at the intersection of US-375 and US-318 on the way to the Alien Research Center.
This sign has been covered in stickers to the point where you can barely make out the word ‘Extraterrestrial’ but it’s a classic roadside attraction.
You’ll also find a nice little picnic stop underneath the trees here, where you can enjoy your spoils from ET Fresh Jerky.
Address: At the split between US-375 and US-318
Alien Research Center
From there we continued on to the Alien Research Centre which is hard to miss! Just look out for an airplane hangar with a towering, silver alien out front.
Unfortunately, the Alien Research Centre and the Area 51 container right next to it, were both closed on the day we visited so we can’t really tell you what you might find or what alien stories you might hear, but we tried peeking through the glass doors and it looks to be an eccentric souvenir shop with alien-themed gifts.
The hours listed online say the Alien Research Center is closed Monday and Tuesday, and open Wednesday to Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Address: 100 Extraterrestrial Hwy, Hiko, NV 89017
The Black Mailbox
Once upon a time, the Extraterrestrial Highway was home to a mysterious mailbox that listed the names of two recipients: one large box for local rancher Steve Medlin, and one smaller box for Alien.
Then someone went ahead and stole it!
While the original mailbox is long gone, alien enthusiasts have created a shrine of sorts where the original black mailbox once stood. Today you’ll find a smaller black mailbox where people have stuffed letters, mementoes, and scraps of paper with home addresses…perhaps expecting an alien visit?
Other random items at the site include a folding metal chair, a farmer’s hat, beer bottles, bracelets and coins. Some visitors have even gone as far as using pebbles to outline alien faces in the surrounding landscape.
Address: Mail Box Rd, Alamo, NV 89001
We then hit the road again and continued towards Rachel, a tiny town whose claim to fame is the Little A’le’inn – a.k.a. the Little Alien, get it?
The establishment is part motel, part bar and part restaurant, and it draws quite a few intrepid alien seekers considering its remote location.
As is to be expected, the Little A’le’inn has some serious alien-themed decor both inside and outside. Out front, we spotted a UFO-towing pick-up truck and a green alien welcoming earthlings, while inside we were surrounded by Area 51 warning signs and all sorts of alien-themed souvenirs.
Address: 9631 Old Mill Rd, Rachel, NV 89001
So, we did not make it to the gates of Area 51, but that doesn’t stop people from driving there.
In case you’ve never heard of it (though I doubt it – this is the worst kept secret in the US!), Area 51 is a United States Air Force facility and what goes on there is highly classified. The base’s real purpose is publicly unknown; the general consensus is that they test experimental aircraft but there are also plenty of conspiracy theories surrounding aliens.
Just as a heads up, getting to Area 51 involves driving 12 miles down a side road and you will not be allowed to enter once you get there. On the contrary, there are signs telling you that neither drones nor photography are allowed and that “use of deadly force is authorised” if anyone dares trespass.
That was warning enough for us to keep our distance, but plenty of others have reached the gates, so the choice is yours.
Address: Dirt road between mile marker 11 and 12 leads to back gate
And thus concludes our little adventure along the Extraterrestrial Highway. This is hands down the quirkiest road trip Sam and I have ever been on, and we had so much fun experiencing a side of Nevada that we didn’t know existed.
Some final words of advice: bring water and snacks, fuel up at the last gas stop, and talk to the locals because they are full of stories they’re more than happy to share!
Would you ever drive the Extraterrestrial Highway?
What’s the quirkiest road trip you’ve ever taken?
This post is a result of the Nevada blog trip created and managed by iambassador in partnership with Expedia and TravelNevada. As always, I maintain full editorial control of the content published here.