August 15, 2022

Area 51 – Return to Rachel Nevada

Beware The UFOs


My recent road trip across the Western United States took me through some of the more open and empty areas of Nevada. Some say it’s strange, but I love driving across that open, desolate country.

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Wide Open Spaces And Empty Roads in Nevada


The journey offered an opportunity for me to revisit a somewhat “different” site of interest – a secret, but not so secret, Air Force testing area located in Central Nevada. (For the story of my previous visit click here.) Officially the base’s designation is the Nevada Test and Training Range operated by the United States Air Force and managed by the 99th Air Base Wing at Nellis Air Force Base. Unofficially it’s known as Area 51 and for years it has been rumored to be the location where the government works on, and experiments with, alien technology acquired from various UFO crashes and landings around the world.

As you might expect, it’s not the type of place where you can simply drive up and explore on your own.  There is no  “visitor’s center” and indeed, visitors are discouraged by a very serious military presence.  Additionally, the location of the base,out in the isolation of central Nevada, tends to discourage many visitors.  The base is located in the middle of the Nevada dessert and there is very, very little nearby in the way of human resources. As I drove across the north end of the Area I came across this sign which actually appears to advertise some of it’s activities.  But then this test range is actually a facility which is separate from, and about 70 miles distant from,  the “dark site” activities of Area 51.


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Sandia Labs’ Tonopah Test Range to the North of Area 51.


Rachel Nevada is probably the one primary, perhaps the only “city” near the base and it’s really tiny.  Located on Highway NV 375 (previously designated as The Extra Terrestrial Highway), it’s about a 2 1/2 hour drive north from Las Vegas. According  to the 2010 census Rachel has a population of 54. The main (again perhaps only?) “retail establishment” in Rachel is the Little A’Le’Inn. It’s an interesting little place. I stopped in for dinner and some local conversation. (  GPS Coordinates,N37° 38.801′,W115° 44.760) It’s worth a stop if you are ever in the neighborhood.

Little A'Le'Inn / bwb-images
Little A’Le’Inn / bwb-images

You can get a meal, catch up on local information, and pick up an Area 51 souvenir or two.


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An Assortment of Area 51  Mementos At Little A’Le’Inn


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A Tow Truck In Front of Little A’Le’Inn / A Wrecked UFO in Tow


On my previous visit to Rachel I had driven out to the Groom Lake Road Gate, one of the main entrances to Area 51, just to see what it was like.  On my most recent visit the good folks at Little A’Le’Inn told me of another nearby entrance to the Area – the “Back Gate” which is about eight miles west of Highway 375,   between the city and the Area.  That sounded interesting so I climbed into my RoadTrek and headed out.  After about eight miles of dusty travel down gravel roads (they are almost all gravel out in this area – except for the main highway) I saw the gate in the distance. It’s actually a double “trap -like” gate.  One gate opens to allow you to enter an inspection area and then closes behind you.  A second gate prevents you from moving forward.  Only with appropriate clearance and approval will the second gate open and allow you to proceed.

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The Back Gate To Area 51 West of Rachel Nevada


I snapped the photo above as I was approaching the back gate.  I figured that I would get other close ups when I got there.  Unfortunately when I arrived I encountered a number of signs with various serious warning messages about no entrance and no photography. And of course I had no permission or clearance to enter.  At the time I was visiting I knew the government was on the brink of “closing down” due to a pending financial impasse.  But somehow I figured these guys out here guarding Area 51 would still be on duty.  Having no desire to spend my vacation and  free time explaining my travel and photography interests to the military types I decided not to try and enter or do any  close up photography of the area and gate. Instead I did a slow U Turn and headed back out to the highway. I had several hundred more miles to travel that day.  As I left the Area I kept scanning the skies.  Alas – not a one UFO in sight.

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We are not alone ……………… Enjoy The Adventure!

Dr.B, The Photo Trekker


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