Wyoming’s ‘Highway To Heaven’ Not A Hoax

in Wyoming Life/Tourism

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

A photo circulating on the internet shows a stretch of highway on Interstate 80 between Evanston and Lyman that looks like it stretches all the way up to the sky.

Some online have questioned the authenticity of the image, while those familiar with that stretch of highway say it’s the real deal.

Legitimate Photo

“On a clear day, it doesn’t look like that,” said Stephanie Harsha, public information officer for the Wyoming Department of Transportation. “But on a specific day, if (there are) storm clouds, especially those darker clouds but the sun is still out, it can, on occasion, actually look like that.”

Cowboy State Daily’s Bill Sniffin, who has published a number of books about Wyoming, vouched for it as well.

“This is an absolutely legitimate photo,” he said, explaining that truckers call it “The Sisters” because of the twin hills.

“This is the big ‘Sister’ that we’re looking at,” he said. “And it does look like that at the very end. It’s almost like a little bit of sunshine cracks through and then it goes up into the fog again.”

“The truckers know they’ve got this huge valley to go down into, and then climb way the hell out,” he said.

Sniffin credited WYDOT for creating a third lane because of how steep it is.

Dangerous Highway 

Harsha said the area known as “The Sisters” is a particularly dangerous stretch of I-80.

“I find it funny that it gets out there as the ‘Highway to Heaven’ when the locals in the wintertime just despise it,” said Harsha, who grew up in the area near Green River.

“‘The Sisters’ are notoriously bad in the winter for snow and ice, and so they’re somewhat treacherous in the winter if we get a bad storm,” she said. “So no one’s ever really referred to that section of roadway affectionately anyway.”

Sniffin pointed out that the area has some of the largest wind turbines in Wyoming because of the strong, prevailing winds – which adds to the dangerous nature of the highway.

“So that’s another thing, you’re down in the valley out of the wind, and then you’re climbing up out of it into the wind,” said Sniffin, who drives the route twice a year with his RV.

“It’s nerve-wracking to be dragging a 40-foot-long, 13-foot-high RV – even though it weighs 34,000 pounds,” he said. “One of the reasons it’s scary is because of all the semis, there’s just so many semis on that road.”

Doesn’t Actually Lead to Heaven

Neither Sniffin nor Harsha would agree with the nickname for the stretch of road, however.

“To disappoint some folks, this section of I-80 does not lead to heaven, only the Bridger Valley,” said Harsha. “However, some people find the Bridger Valley heavenly, so maybe the title is accurate.”

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