Tikaboo Peak – Alamo, Nevada - Atlas Obscura

Tikaboo Peak

If you want to take a peek at Area 51, this is legally as close as you're going to get. 


Area 51 has never been a place that the government was keen on the general public getting a look at. 

The military airfield outside of Las Vegas is one of the most mysterious and captivating places in the United States. A secret air force base, what actually goes on in that desolate corner of the desert is up for much speculation, and is the seed for conspiracy theories galore. Most likely a location for testing experimental aircraft, the remote extension of Edwards Air Force Base is wallowing in UFO stories, the reality and the urban legends clearly related. 

The base is heavily guarded, and located on a dry lake bed surrounded by mountains on all sides. The military guards these peaks to keep nosy citizens with cameras in check, but there is still one vantage point where the most tenacious looky-loos can take a (26 mile away) gander at the mysterious military digs—Tikaboo Peak.

In hopes of spotting a sign of life from beyond, snooping UFO chasers have one shot at seeing the infamous base, and that is Tikaboo Peak, one of the last places to see the site legally. A 25-mile dirt road is the first challenge, something that only those with a suitable 4WD vehicle should attempt. From there, there it is just a short but insidious 1.2 mile hike on sliding shale and an abrupt elevation spike of 1,000 feet. In the summer the hike is brutal, and there is no water available anywhere on the journey so it must be carried in. 

Once you reach the summit, your reward is a stunning view of the Tikaboo Valley, and of course, the Holy Grail, Area 51. While not much to see except some white buildings, those of which require binoculars to get a good peek at, the imagination can run wild with fantasies of the extraterrestrial wonders located within. If that isn’t enough alien flavor for you, you can always make a pitstop at the Black Mailbox, an alien-chaser hotspot where you can meet up with other UFO hunters who frequently camp in the area with eyes on the stars. 

Know Before You Go

Google Maps users report that the road to the trailhead is closed - washed out from storms - about 1.7 miles out as of spring 2023.

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