Nevada Test Site

Nye County
  36.59745, -116.00306

"We've breaked here barely ten minutes (at the marker) and we've watched an airbase jeep whiz alongside the fenceline a couple of times now. I guess they mean business. But, seriously. They might as well electrify the damn fence to keep people out. It might save everybody some time and money ... " -- Journal Entry, March 2009

Along US 95, 64 miles north of Las Vegas
* Find this one 1/4 mile south of the turnoff to "Mercury" *

Original Date Visited: 3/18/09

Signed: Southbound lane of US 95

Notes: Although there is a public turnout at this marker, don't be surprised if you find yourself being watched. Even in this remote area, keep in mind that here at this historic marker is the closest you can get to the Nevada Test Site! Signs are liberally posted with ominous warnings like "No Trespassing", "Violators will be prosecuted," and my personal favorite, "All trespassers on base subject to elimination." Believe me boys and girls, they mean every word. UFO hobbyists, conspiracy theorists and other visitors have been arrested in the past just for leaning over the barbed wire fence! Violating these rules will almost certainly mean federal penalty up to and including imprisonment.

  • [165] Marker 165
  • [165] Marker 165 plaque
  • [165] The first detonation in Nevada, circa 1950
  • [165] Marker 165 and the Nevada Test Site in the b.g.
  • [165] The Nevada Test Site

Exact Description:
Testing of weapons for defense and for peaceful uses of nuclear explosives is conducted here. The nation's principal nuclear explosives testing laboratory is located within this 1,350-square-mile, geologically complex area in the isolated valleys of Jackass, Yucca and Frenchman Flats. Selected as on-continent test site in 1950, the first test took place on Frenchman Flat in January, 1951.

Archeological studies of the NTS area have revealed continuous occupation by prehistoric man from about 9,500 years ago. Several prehistoric cultures are represented. The last aboriginal group to occupy the site was the Southern Paiute, who foraged plant foods in season and occupied the area until the coming of the pioneers.

Did You Know ...

... The Nevada Nuclear Museum in Las Vegas operates tours onto the Nevada Test Site? Allowing civilians onto one of the country's largest government bases does not come without a catch. After reading this, you might opt to change your mind.

First, a maximum of thirty people are allowed per tour per year, and you must be lucky enough to be picked from a two-year waiting list. (Parties are not allowed to register.) If luck is on your side you are the lucky one of their choosing, you must be squeaky clean enough to pass a thorough criminal background check. The tour leaves promptly from the museum northward onto the air base where you are given a temporary access ID badge. At Mercury, you are allowed to buy a quick snack and promptly hoarded onto a bus where the tour commences onto an all-day dirt road across the 1,350 square mile test site. From here, enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view the Sedan Crater, the site of America's first nuclear test. The last part of the tour approaches Gate 42, the absolute closest distance civilians to get to Area 51.

Does this sound good to you? Too bad you can't take all this home with you, because cameras and any other recording devices, including cell phones and mobile devices, are strictly prohibited. Still interested? If so, get to it. You can register in person at the Nevada Nuclear Museum. Who knows ... You might be the lucky soul out of the thousands of people that get chosen for this chance of a lifetime. Nevada is a gambling state after all. Good luck!

See more Nevada Fun Facts here

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Related Links & Markers

 Nevada Test Site (Online Nevada Encyclopedia)   Atomic Test Effects in the Nevada Test Site   First Atomic Detonation (History Channel) 

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