Quebec 01 Missile Alert Facility - Atlas Obscura

The United States currently has three ways of delivering nuclear weapons against enemy targets. It can attack from the air using bomber aircraft, from the sea through stealthy submarines, and from the land using silo-based nuclear missiles. Through this range of options, called the nuclear triad, the military retains the ability to strike at enemy targets, even if the U.S. is attacked first. Such important tools in the nation’s nuclear deterrent are usually not accessible to the public. However, one retired facility, known as Q-01(or Quebec-One), has opened its doors to curious visitors interested in learning more about America’s intercontinental ballistic missile program. 

The facility used to house the Minuteman missile, named after the New England militia members of the Revolutionary War, who could be ready to fight at a minute’s notice. The Minuteman missiles used solid fuels that could be ready to launch immediately, as opposed to liquid-based rockets that needed to take time to fuel before a launch. Quebec-01 housed Minuteman I until 1970, when it was replaced with Minuteman III, which carried up to three nuclear warheads that could strike three different targets. This was in turn replaced with the Peacekeeper missile in 1986, with 12 warheads on one missile. 

There were over 1,000 Minuteman missile silos at the program’s height in the 1970s. Since then, the number of deployed Minutemen has been reduced to just around 400 (though there are many other silo-based missiles still deployed). As the number of Minutemen shrank, the old silos were recycled for other purposes. Many have become private homes or bunkers for doomsday preppers. 

Quebec-01 was shut down as an active missile silo in 2005. Its fate hung in the air until it was given to Wyoming State Parks in 2017. It opened to the public in 2019 as a state historic site. It hosts a museum to educate the public about the Cold War and the military’s strategy of nuclear deterrence. Visitors can discover how those once stationed here lived day-to-day, while constantly at the ready to wage nuclear war.

Know Before You Go

The facility is a quarter-mile from Exit 39 on I-25, near Chugwater, Wyoming. Parking is free and tours are a nominal fee. Guides are well-versed in the history of the site and are often involved in sourcing artifacts or other historical information. As of opening month, tours include a souvenir token.

This site is seasonal and is typically open from May until the end of September.

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