‘Storm Area 51’: Strange times out on the ‘Extraterrestrial Highway’

RACHEL, Nev. – Just north of Las Vegas lies a highway that’s out of this world.

Nevada State Route 375, otherwise known as the “Extraterrestrial Highway,” snakes along the area just north of the land where Area 51 is located. The lone two-lane road may see a crush of alien-obsessed visitors over the next several days due to “Storm Area 51” and related festivals that have cropped up.

Area 51 is popularly known as the site of rumored government studies of outer space aliens. The “Storm Area 51” Facebook event went viral in July as people pledged to crash the secret military base in an attempt to “see them aliens.” More than 2 million Facebook users have now said they are going, with over 1.4 million replying they were interested.


That could bring potentially thousands of vehicles to a highway that passes through small towns such as Rachel and Tonopah. Other than small clusters of civilization, the roadway snakes through valley areas dotted with Joshua trees before climbing over hills that give a glimpse of faint dirt roads in the distance.

In 1996 the state of Nevada officially designated the highway, giving it the name the Extraterrestrial Highway.

At the junction of state routes 318 and 375, just northwest of  U.S. 93, a large sign that typically would be covered with stickers lies marking the official start of the roadway.

But last week, visitors discovered that sign is no longer there. During a trip to the area on Wednesday by Fox News, the only thing that could be seen marking where the sign was located were two orange cones.

The “Extraterrestrial Highway” sign in Crystal Springs is due for replacement, Nevada Department of Transportation public information officer Tony Illia told FOX5 at the time.. “As such, we will be removing it prior to the ‘alien-fest’ event and replacing it afterwards to help reduce traffic congestion at this location due to people stopping to take pictures.”

The sign is also apparently one of the most stolen signs in the entire state.

Just after getting on the Extraterrestrial Highway, it’s not hard to miss the next spot.

The Alien Research Center in Hiko, Nev. spots a massive, silver spaceman hanging at the front door of the souvenir shop.

Second Nevada county declares emergency ahead of ‘Storm Area 51’
Second Nevada county declares emergency ahead of ‘Storm Area 51’
Nye County, Nevada says they are ‘preparing for the worst’ ahead of the event.

Inside, lies a large assortment of UFO and alien-related t-shirts, books, and even “alien tequila.”

The souvenir shop has planned a Sept. 20-21 expo dubbed “Storm Area 51” Basecamp that’s more focused on being a cultural program on extraterrestrials, complete with a replica of the main Area 51 gate.

The Black Mailbox

On the way –traveling northwest to Rachel, Nev. –lies a roadside spot that’s become a spot for alien-hunters.

What’s known as “The Black Mailbox” is simply that — a black mailbox that belongs to a local rancher that’s become a meeting point for UFO hunters.

“It’s the only real landmark everyone can find each other,” Ken Sig, a tour guide at Las Vegas Adventure Tours, told Fox News Wednesday during a 10-hour tour of the area.

The mailbox is emblazoned with stickers. Various visitors have left behind their own type of “gifts,” including casino chips, a helmet, cigarettes, and an empty-flask.

Rachel, Nev. and the Little A’Le’Inn

The first large place in civilization after trekking along the highway for about 40 miles is Rachel, Nev. — a town of nearly 50 residents.

The town got its name from the first baby born in the Sand Spring Valley, Rachel Jones, according to Sig.

A sign welcoming you to the tiny community states it pretty clearly–“Population: Humans ‘YES,’ Aliens, ‘?'”

“Ever since the late 1980’s Rachel has been a popular destination among UFO fans, attracted by the nearby Area 51, and by hundreds of UFO sightings in the area,” the town’s website states. “Rachel has been dubbed the ‘UFO Capital of the World,’ and people from all around the world come to visit Rachel and the Little A’Le’Inn, and to get information to plan their personal expedition to that mysterious base in the desert.”

The only business left in town is the aptly-named Little A’Le’Inn restaurant and bar. Phone service is limited, and the last gas station closed in the winter of 2006-2007. Now the nearest gas station lies over 40 miles away.

On the property and inside, the Little A’Le’Inn features various photos, books, and other UFO-related items on display.

“AlienStock,” one of three festivals that emerged from the joke-calls to raid Area 51, is slated to take place at the Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel. The co-owner of the inn, Connie West, is still planning to go through with an “Alienstock” Thursday through Sunday with 20 musical acts, food vendors and souvenir sellers.

A prop of a spaceship that was used in the “Mars Attacks” movie on the property of the Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel, Nev.
A prop of a spaceship that was used in the “Mars Attacks” movie on the property of the Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel, Nev. (Travis Fedschun/Fox News)


West said last week there would be a Medevac helicopter, ambulances and 130 Porta-Johns coming, in addition to law enforcement and a security team.

Matty Roberts, who created the Facebook post that went viral, broke ties with her event over infrastructure and safety concerns. Roberts, 20, of Bakersfield, Calif., is supporting an “Alienstock” festival scheduled for Thursday at an outdoor venue in downtown Las Vegas.

West, however, told Fox News on Wednesday she has family and volunteers helping her event be a success.

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