Extraterrestrial Highway - NV375
You might think that the extraterrestrial highway is named so because of the barren, deserted landscape that is similar to being on another planet but this is not the case. The extraterrestrial highway, otherwise known as NV375, was officially given the title in 1996 because it parallels the mysterious Area 51. According to UFO conspiracy theorists Area 51 is where the government researches alien technology, but more likely it is where the Air Force tests their “Black Budget” technologies; those that are classified. Because of its remoteness and dry lake bed landing area the site has been the home to many of the USAF’s secret programs, the U-2 spy plane, the SR-72 Blackbird, and F-117 Stealth all proved themselves in the skys over this desert.
To get to the extraterrestrial highway from Las Vegas, take I-15 North to US93 North. It is about 100 miles from Las Vegas to Alamo where there are three gas stations to choose from. Beyond that it is about 60 miles to Rachel, where signs say gas can be found. We didn’t see any so we continued on to Tonopah. The distance between Alamo and Tonopah is about 160 miles so for those with small tanks make sure to keep it under 65 mph and hold her steady. There is nothing out here in the desert and running out of gas is not an option.
The extraterrestrial highway is mostly straight. Nearby Highway 50 has been described as the “Loneliest Highway” but I would give that title to this road. There are parts where you can see 10 miles in either direction and not see another vehicle. There is a fun stretch about 20 miles into the trip that climbs over a range where the extraterrestrial highway gets curvy. It culminates in a 180 degree 80 mph sweeper dumping you onto a straight stretch of road you will learn to love over the next 140 miles.
is the only town on the extraterrestrial Highway. I don’t remember seeing any permanent structures, all of the buildings were trailers. It does have a nice photo opportunity to get your bikes and a sign that says “EXTRATERRESTRIAL HIGHWAY”. Bring a tripod if you want to be in the frame, ‘cuz nobody will be around to take your picture.
If you do pull over be careful! The road is built two feet over the sandy desert floor and getting down the gravely incline is treacherous at best. Once down you have to deal with the fine sand so stay off the front brake. I almost ate asphalt on more than one occasion, as it is too tempting not to pull over and take a picture. Honestly, with the amount of traffic on this road you would be better just stopping in the lane and doing your business. We saw only a handful of cars the whole trip and most were headed the opposite direction.
You will see a lot of wildlife on this untamed stretch of road. Most of the extraterrestrial highway is open range and cattle are common. There are no fences so there can be cows on the road but visibility is good so it should not be a concern. We did see (and smell) a dead cow on the side of the road but that was as close as they came. Buzzards and small birds are common, as well as chipmunks and ground squirrels. Dead coyotes, hit by automobiles are probable at some point of your journey. There is a national wilderness area nearby that contains the last heards of our wild horses, but we did not see any, other than the domesticated ones in pens. There is an oddity towards the end of the extraterrestrial highway. Smack dab in the middle of nowhere is a ranch with two big circular irrigated fields
. In the middle of this desert are two bright green circles. I am guessing it is hay but conventional wisdom does not apply on this road.
Once you meet up with US6 the closest anything, gas, food, beds, is Tonopah
. A mining town with quite a history it is well worth a visit.
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