The town of Rachel is located in Sand Spring Valley, in the southern Nevada high desert, along the worlds only Extraterrestrial Highway, aka. Hwy 375. It is located about 115 miles northwest of Las Vegas, separated from it by the restricted area around the Nellis Ranges, and about 27 miles north of the top secret Air Force Base Area 51.
Rachel was founded in May of 1973 by D.C.Day, who owned an alfalfa farm in the valley. The town was first called Tempiute Village, then Sand Springs. Later, when the population grew thanks to the reopening of the nearby tungsten mine in Tempiute Mountain, it was named Rachel after Rachel Jones, the first baby born in the valley. This is remembered each May on Rachel Day with a parade.
In its heyday Rachel had over 500 residents, mostly working for Union Carbide in the Tempiute tungsten mine. When the mine closed in 1988 the workers moved on, and today the population is down to less than 100. Most of the people living in Rachel are retired, work at the alfalfa farms or in one of the three local businesses. A few people work at the Tonopah Test Range (TTR) or in Area 51, but of course those who really do can not talk about it.
The only remaining local businesses in Rachel is the Little A'Le'Inn Restaurant and Bar. The Quik Pik Mini Mart and gas station closed in the winter of 2006/2007, after briefly being operated by a new owner. The Area 51 Research Center, a small UFO souvenir shop, was closed in fall of 2001. There is a public phone outside the Little A'Le'Inn, but you need a calling card to use it.
In August 2002 Rachel got its own Fire Truck, as the result of an initiative by some of the residents.
Ever since the late 1980's Rachel has been a popular destination among UFO fans, attracted by the nearby Area 51, and by hundreds of UFO sightings in the area. Rachel has been dubbed the "UFO Capital of the World", and people from all around the world come to visit Rachel and the Little A'Le'Inn, and to get information to plan their personal expedition to that mysterious base in the desert.
If you decide to stay for the night, the Inn has a limited number of clean motel rooms at very reasonable rates. A night out here in the desert is a unique experience that you will remember for a long time. There is no TV reception, but you can pick free movies from the extensive video library at the Inn, including many documentaries about Area 51 and UFOs.
The "ID4" monument in front of the Little A'Le'Inn was placed here by the producers of the movie Independence Day. It contains a time capsule, to be opened in the year 2050.
Little A'Le'Inn, HC 61 Box 45, Rachel, NV 89001, Phone: (775) 729-2515, Fax: (775) 729-2551
Business Hours: 8.00am - 10.00pm daily, kitchen closes at 9pm
On the far left in the photo you can see some of the instruments of the Rachel weather station, operated by the Department of Energy. It also monitors the gamma radiation in the area. Click here for the latest data. Photo by Koji Kamino, with friendly permission.