Steven Berry

Drive by Area 51, between Hiko and Warm Springs.

September 05, 2012

The Southwest’s most mysterious area is also one of its most fun. Drive along this nearly 100-mile stretch of State Route 375, which was designated in 1966 as one of America’s Byways. It passes by the Nevada Test and Training Range and Area 51, and has been the reported location of many UFO sightings. You can do a one-day trip, but if you’re planning to drive the entire loop, set aside between two and six days.

Little A'Le'Inn

Located along the Extraterrestrial Highway near Area 51, this quirky outpost includes a small motel, bar, and restaurant, all of which cater to alien enthusiasts. From the highway, this landmark appears as a white, corrugated-metal building and an otherworldly UFO saucer in its harness. The cafeteria-style dining room is similarly Martian-inspired. The inn, which consists of a series of trailers, has 10 rooms, and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu includes homemade comfort food like patty melts, steak and potatoes, sandwiches, and homemade pies (apple, cherry, and rhubarb). A gift shop sells alien merchandise, from coffee mugs to cookie jars. 

The Extraterrestrial Highway

Drive the 92-mile stretch of State Route 375 between Hiko and Warm Springs, NV, known as the Extraterrestrial Highway, which runs through beautiful desert and past the off-limits Nevada Test and Training Range and Area 51. You probably won’t be able to do much UFO spotting, but you can do plenty of speculation.

Lunar Crater Volcanic Field

This otherworldly bowl-shaped hole is nearly 4,000 feet across and 430 feet deep, and was formed two million years ago when lava bubbled along a fault line. To get there, turn right onto US-6 east at the Warm Springs junction. After 27.8 miles, turn right at the “Lunar Crater” sign on your right, and follow it 6.4 miles to the crater.

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