Area 51 is where many believe alien spacecraft flutter around on a regular basis. Others believe US authorities have sequestered captured alien spacecraft here. Unless you work for the Air Force - there are a couple of people living in Rachel that do, but they aren't talking - you can only see the area from afar. Supposedly, you can climb Tikaboo Peak and see the base buildings at the Groom Lake Area 51 base in the distance with high-powered binoculars - see Tikaboo]
The base was originally designed to develop U-2 reconnaissance aircraft in the late 1950's, far away from curious eyes. Many other aircraft have flown out here - A-12, B-2, F-117A - before coming into regular service. Also, aircraft of would-be hostile nations have flow out here - MIG-29's for example. There are no Area 51 tours. There are a couple of hillsides closer in than Tikaboo Peak, where people were looking into the test site from, but the Air Force seized those sites and expulsed the onlookers, an event described in some detail in the national media and on a Larry King CNN special done onsite from Rachel in the mid-1990's.
Interestingly enough, when we slowed down to snap this picture, the sound of jet engines filled the car, followed shortly by a double sonic boom - somehow appropriate for this land of mystery.
The E.T.-highway. This highway gets the closest possible to 'Area 51', a secret base, surrounded by the mountains...
96 Reviews and Opinions
NV 375 links US 6 with US 93 across the northeastern side of the vast military complexes operating out of Las Vegas' Nellis Air Force base. The road moves through some grand lonely Great Basin countryside with many straight shots of over ten miles. The only 'services' along the 63 mile highway is the Little A'Le'Inn in Rachel - there is a gas station to be found just south of the eastern end of NV 375 on US 93 at Ash Springs. Coming from the west, NV 375 starts off a lonely section of US 6 by the abandoned buildings of Warm Springs - the buildings are abandoned, but the hot springs can still be found in a pool above the buildings. You are greeted by a shot-up sign announcing the beginnig of the ET Highway. The route was proclaimed by the State Highway Department in conjunction with Hollywood movie producers of the 'Independence Day'. Locals are mixed in their reactions - some not wanting anymore outsiders intruding in their lives than necessary, while others - the folks at the Little A'Le'Inn enjoy the increase in traffic from 5-6 cars a day to 50-60. Watch out along the wide stretches for open range cattle wandering out onto the road, a very big hazard at night when you are cruising along at 80+mph and scanning the skies for flying saucers!! See ! tour for a virtual tour of this highway of the stars.
When a sign has a picture of a cow and something like 'NEXT 56 MILES' below, beware. Cows can be found when you least expect them wandering across the road. People in Nevada - especially rural Nevada - tend to be libertarian in spirit and that goes for speed limits, too. They just don't mean much except in small towns - and along US 95 and 93 - where they are a source of income = speed trap. Take care, however in open range country because hitting a cow at high speed can definitely ruin your day, to say nothing for the cow.