RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip

The Extraterrestrial Highway, page 3

by Megan Edwards

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"The Black Mailbox"
Alien RFD: "The Black Mailbox"

Back on the road, we looked for the next landmark on the ET Highway, the "Black Mailbox," which still bears the name even though it's now white. It wasn't hard to spot, and we stopped to watch the sky again. The Black Mailbox is a traditional place to spot ETs, but all we sighted was another magnificent thunderhead. We had similar results at the next point of interest, a gravelly pullout where, according to information gleaned at the Little A'Le'Inn, an alien named Quaylar abducted a ufologist and his wife in 1993.

The ET Highway continues on its northwest trajectory until it hooks in with US Highway 6 at Warm Springs. As we headed on to Tonopah, it dawned on us that we actually had seen aliens on the ET Highway. In wild, otherworldly places like Tikaboo Valley, the aliens are us.

Megan Edwards
September 8, 2003
(Links updated December 15. 2021, RTA)


South central Nevada is sparsely populated. Traveler services are adequate, but far apart. Don't let your gas tank drop below half full. If you see a chance to top off, take it. If you have trouble, stay with your vehicle. Roads are regularly patrolled, and locals will almost always assist a stranded motorist.

In winter, be prepared for sub-freezing temperatures, especially at night. Spring weather is mild, but may be windy. Summers are hot, but temperatures usually don't rise above 100 degrees F, making it cooler than Las Vegas. Fall is generally ideal, with days in the 60-70-degree range with excellent visibility.

With regard to Area 51, much of the area on the southwest side of the ET Highway (Nevada Highway 375) belongs to the Air Force. Don't go off the road toward this area at night, and in daylight, heed the signs warning you to turn back, and not to take pictures. You may be arrested if you ignore them, and your camera may be confiscated.

No matter the season, take plenty of drinking and radiator water. Carry functioning jack, spare belts, and hoses for your vehicle. Don't count on cell phones to work. Take binoculars, compass or GPS transceiver, hat & sunscreen, and good shoes or boots.

The Little A'Le'Inn in Rachel rents modest rooms. Tonopah is the closest town with several motels to choose from. Consider camping (nearly anywhere), or travel by RV.

Dreamland Resort, Area 51 research site
Rachel, Nevada
Extraterrestrial Highway road trip

Two loop tours: From Las Vegas, take I-15 and US 93 to the ET Highway, then return via U.S. Highways 6 and 95. From Reno, take I-80 to Alternate US Highway 50. Go south on US 95 to US 6, then east to the ET Highway. Return the same way, or extend your trip down to Las Vegas and back up via US Highway 95. Depending on route choice and pace, the loop tour takes 2-6 days. An "out and back" tour can be done from Las Vegas in a day.