The desert regions of the American Southwest are home to numerous remarkable places that draw seekers to remote towns on a mission to experience a bit of desert magic, or to find answers to some of life’s most pressing questions… What is my purpose? ….Are we alone?


Unidentified flying objects, UFOs, have been recounted all over the world, but some of the most famous reports have come from the desert regions of the U.S. Roswell in New Mexico, Area 51 in Nevada, and Giant Rock and the Integratron in Landers, CA are a few noteworthy destinations that draw significant interest from UFO enthusiasts, scientists and conspiracy theorists along with adventuresome tourists.

Roswell, New Mexico

In 1947, a rancher by the name of Mack Brazel reported that an unidentified flying object crashed on his land. After a thunderstorm had passed through the region, he noticed metal debris while checking on his livestock. The material was scattered around in pieces. Brazel also found a trench in the ground that wasn’t there before the storm. It was shallow and several hundred feet long.

He collected some of the debris and showed it to a neighbor, who suggested he contact authorities. Brazel reported it to Sheriff Geo. Wilcox who then passed on the information to the military at Roswell Army Air Field. The military sent two investigators to the ranch to examine and collect the debris.

Maj. J. A. Marcel, an intelligence officer at Roswell, issued a press release stating that the military had recovered a “disc”. This news exploded in the July 8th edition of the Roswell Daily Record, which announced that a flying saucer had been found and picked up by the Air Field. The paper added an account from a Mr. and Mrs. Dan Wilmot who reported having seen the saucer flying prior to its demise. The very next day, July 9th, the paper quoted the military’s new determination that it wasn’t a flying saucer at all, but a weather balloon.

More accounts of the incident from locals added fuel to the story. A mortician from a local funeral home claimed to have received a call from the military base’s mortuary officer inquiring about obtaining three small hermetically sealed coffins. A nurse from the military base hospital later told the mortician about bodies that were discovered with the wreckage. She even drew pictures of them. Within a few days of that report, the nurse was transferred overseas.

Rumors of a governmental cover up persist, and Roswell has now grown to become a center for UFO seekers and tourists. An annual UFO Festival is held there and the International UFO Museum and Research Center in the city has exhibits on all types of phenomena, including crop circles and alien astronauts.

Read more about New Mexico’s “Space Triangle” 

International UFO Museum and Research Center
114 North Main Street
Roswell, New Mexico 88203
Phone: 1-800-822-3545 (Toll Free Worldwide)

There are two big UFO festivals/conferences in May and June every year, one in Roswell and one in Joshua Tree:
UFO Festival
Roswell, NM
June 29th – July 2nd, 2017
Contact in the Desert
Joshua Tree Retreat Center
59700 Twentynine Palms Highway
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
May 19-22nd 2017

Area 51, Nevada

When odd things go unexplained, our imagination takes over to fill in the gaps. The super secret nature of Area 51 has led to staunch convictions that UFO and extraterrestrial research have taken place there.

Area 51 is a United States Air Force base that handles highly classified projects. The airspace above the facility is restricted and much of the work done there was unknown until 2013. That year, the CIA declassified documents that described the history of the facility and its role as a test base for military aircraft, including the Lockheed U-2, a top secret spy plane. Around the time the U-2 was being tested, UFO reports began to increase in the region. The U-2 was able to fly at 60,000 feet, which was unheard of at that time. Military craft flew at 40,000 feet and commercial flights at 20,000 feet.

Due to the paucity of information about its purpose and the extreme secrecy of the work performed there prior to 2013, Area 51 was believed by some to be the government’s lab for secret research into the debris and bodies found in the 1947 crash in Roswell, NM. Weather control, exotic energy weapons, time travel and other strange activities have also been rumored to take place there according to Wikipedia.

Read more about Area 51:
Unauthorized Entry Will Be Met With Lethal Force: Area 51

The Giant Rock and the Integratron – Landers, CA

The Giant Rock and Integratron are two points of interest that draw travelers who seek off-the-beaten track experiences. “Spacecraft Conventions” were held at Giant Rock for about 20 years. They were hosted by George Van Tassel, a former test pilot and aeronautical engineer who moved to Giant Rock in Landers, CA after World War II. He was a firm believer in UFOs and held regular meetings that at one point drew almost 11,000 people (1959). Through the support of his followers he was able to construct the Integratron, a 38 foot high, 50 foot diameter building he believed capable of revitalizing the human body and enabling time travel, among other things. Meditating in the rooms beneath the Giant Rock, a seven-story tall boulder, Van Tassel believed he came into contact with extraterrestrials, who gave him the knowledge to construct the Integratron. Van Tassel didn’t live to see the Integratron completed; he died suddenly in 1978.

The Integratron’s current owners, Joanne, Nancy, and Patty Karl, offer “Sound Baths” in the building by appointment only. The rooms beneath the Giant Rock have been filled in.

Read more about the Giant Rock and the Integratron:
Giant Rock and the Integratron in Landers
Pioneertown – The Integratron – God’s Way Love
Area 51 May Not Be As Fine As Area 29 (two-nine)

Barry Storm and the Storm Jade Mine – Joshua Tree, CA

Author Barry Storm (Trail of the Lost Dutchman, Thunder Gods Gold, How I Was Swindled by Red Movie Makers) spent years researching and writing about stories of lost gold and hidden treasures in the Superstition Mountains. His research wasn’t limited to books – Storm made many trips out into the desert areas he wrote about. While in the Joshua Tree area in the 1950s, he claimed to have seen many unidentified flying objects, one of which reportedly shone a light down on the ground before him. Digging in that spot revealed a jade deposit; he believed it to be an ancient Mayan jade mine. Storm built a small cabin nearby and lived and prospected his mine from 1956 to 1968.

Barry Storm died in 1971 in Los Angeles. His claim to have discovered the source of the Mayan’s jade was refuted when jade mines were discovered in Guatemala in the 1970s. It’s now thought those were the source of the Mayan’s jade.

Read more about the Barry Storm Jade Mine
Barry Storm and the Legend of the Lost Dutchman
Day Trippin’ To The Barry Storm Jade Mine In Joshua Tree National Park

The Phoenix Lights

On Thursday, March 13, 1997, thousands of people in Phoenix, Arizona, and Sonora, Mexico saw what was described as a huge V shaped object with 5 lighted engines. It was apparently solid because stars were blocked out as it passed. Some people saw the 5 lights change formation from a V to a U and a line. The object moved very slowly and made no noise. The military later said that the event was due to flares dropped from planes.

The Governor of Arizona at the time, Fife Symington III, admitted much later in 2007 that he too had seen the Phoenix Lights.

In an interview with The Daily Courier in Prescott, Arizona, Symington said, “I’m a pilot and I know just about every machine that flies. It was bigger than anything that I’ve ever seen. It remains a great mystery. Other people saw it, responsible people. I don’t know why people would ridicule it”.[34] Symington had earlier said, “It was enormous and inexplicable. Who knows where it came from? A lot of people saw it, and I saw it too. It was dramatic. And it couldn’t have been flares because it was too symmetrical. It had a geometric outline, a constant shape.”

Kean, Leslie (March 18, 2007). “Symington confirms he saw UFO 10 years ago”The Daily Courier. Retrieved 2007-03-19.

The Phoenix Lights reoccurred in February 6, 2007 and April 21, 2008, but were again explained away as military flares.

While there are plausible explanations for many of these “sightings”, lingering doubts remain that invite the question, have alien beings visited our planet? If so, they do appear to like the desert southwest.

And, in case you see a UFO – you might want to report it.

National UFO Reporting Center

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Lynn Bremner is the author of, a blog about desert road trips and tips. She started the blog after moving to Indio, CA where she now resides. Now a true desert dweller, Lynn has added in some of her own views on desert living. The heat does not keep her indoors in the summertime. She is out running, golfing or taking short day trips to some of the local points of interest. After years of traveling along the dusty, desert trails with her father, she has come to appreciate the beauty and solitude of the desert landscape. Her father’s passion for prospecting, desert lore and exploring the desert parks took their family to many interesting places, mostly in California, Nevada and Arizona. Lynn now writes about her desert road trips and intertwines a little bit of desert living into the mix.


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