The Creepiest Hotel Road Trip You’ll Ever Take
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because sometimes there’s nothing more accommodating than a hotel that gives you the creeps.
By Nick Fouriezos
There is something downright eerie about Nevada at night. The desert air carries sounds deep into the darkness. Far from the bright lights of casinos, along the lone highway expanses that fill the rest of this state boxed in by federal lands and the remnants of get-rich dreams both old and new, you can easily find yourself lost in thoughts — thoughts, perhaps, that are not always those of the living, or of this planet.
If your only interest in Nevada is the Strip, turn back now. This is a road trip that will take you to a creepy and, OK, yes, kitschy world, but one sans glitz or glitter. Here are three nights in batshit-crazy Nevada that will haunt you … forever.
The Little A’Le’Inn
This quirky inn will especially appeal to fans of Close Encounters of the Third Kind–type scares. To be fair, though, the Little A’Le’Inn is not exactly menacing: After all, “Earthlings Welcome” is the friendly greeting on its website. But still, while the inn’s name may suggest a place serving up ale, not chills, there are residents in the tiny town of Rachel who believe the owners just might be from out of this world.…
Enjoy an Alien Burger, pose for some photos and know that someone, somewhere, is watching over us.
The inn, which is decorated with alien memorabilia, is a key landing point for the only company to offer an adventure tour of Area 51, where you can view petroglyphs that appear to depict ancient aliens and visit the infamous “Black Mailbox,” a meeting place for UFO enthusiasts. The inn was inundated with inquiries last September, as the viral “Storm Area 51” Facebook event had 2 million people pledging to descend on the town. “I stopped counting [the number of requests] after 1,800 missed phone calls in only a three-day period,” owner Connie West told Fox News. But now that things have calmed down, sit down, enjoy an Alien Burger, pose for some photos and know that someone, somewhere, is watching over us.
The Clown Motel
When Hame Anand visited the circus for the first time, as a 14-year-old in India, he was so frightened that he left immediately. Only after a friend convinced him to try again did Anand grow to love the circus — and only because of the clowns, who made him laugh. “I never missed any circus until my 21st or 22nd birthday,” says Anand, who, before he turned 40, had collected more than 200 clown-related paraphernalia.
Now the former creative director has turned his love for clowns into the Clown Motel. While most visitors are amused and entertained by the motel’s decor, Anand admits that once or twice guests have booked rooms, only to leave right after they arrived. It probably didn’t help that three of the motel’s rooms have been officially labeled haunted by paranormal experts. For his part, Anand leans into the creep: The “haunted” rooms are decorated with life-size paintings of horror movie posters, including Halloween, Friday the 13th and The Exorcist. More than 600 clowns (dolls, not human ones) occupy the premises, and the motel has been called “America’s scariest motel,” in part due to its proximity to the old Tonopah Cemetery.
The Mizpah & The Goldfield
For fans of fear, Tonopah is also home to the Mizpah Hotel, a popular and recently renovated haunt for TV ghost hunters (and poltergeists looking for their turn on TV). Built in 1907, the hotel celebrates times gone by, with furnishings that reflect the town’s boom-bust mining history. In the Wagon Suite, for example, you can settle down for the night in a carved wagon bed. From the Mizpah, it’s a 27-mile drive south to the town of Goldfield and the no-longer-operating Goldfield Hotel (considered one of the country’s most haunted). Fortunes were made, and lost, in these two former mining towns, as were many lives, when despair set in for miners who went bust. Some might say that the spirits hanging around are still lamenting the lucky strike that never came.
Go There: Weird & Wonderful Nevada Hotels
- You’ll find Little A’Le’Inn in the town of Rachel on the Extraterrestrial Highway (yes, that really is its name), about 2 hours 15 minutes north of Las Vegas. Tip: If you don’t want to share a bathroom, request a “full unit.” Map. (Note: The map indicates that the inn is “permanently closed,” but that isn’t the case; it is indeed open).
- The Clown Motel is in the small town of Tonopah, midway between Las Vegas and Reno. Tip: Pick up a walking-tour brochure of the nearby historic cemetery and freak yourself out even more. Map.
- The Mizpah Hotel is also located in Tonopah, a short walk from the Tonopah Historic Mining Park. Tip: For those ghost hunters on a budget, the Old Brewery Hostel is a cheaper option. Map.