Getting to Rachel, Nevada, the town made famous by its proximity to Area 51 (aka Groom Lake), isn’t hard but the trip is lengthy. You’ll need to rent a vehicle or secure a tour reservation. Guided excursions will pick you up from your hotel, provide lunch and return you for around $200 per person. On your own or part of a group, it could be six to seven hours before you see the bright lights of Vegas again.
The route to Area 51, which is actually part of an Air Force testing and training range, will eventually lead to State Highway 375, more commonly referred to as the Extraterrestrial Highway. A sign proclaiming it as such is a must-stop photo spot, with many visitors leaving stickers behind to prove that they, at least, were out there. The green-and-white hallmark becomes so obscured by stickers that it’s switched out from time to time with another sign, simply so they can be removed.
Also obscured? Area 51 itself. It’s a restricted military base tucked away on a dry lakebed and the armed guards, or “Cammo Dudes” as they’re often nicknamed, patrolling its borders take their task very seriously. Signs warning against trespassers are the most you’ll see and should be heeded. Ignoring them could lead to arrest and steep fines. Grab a quick snapshot if you must, but keep in mind that while your camera is trained on the signs, others will be trained on you.