Visting the I-80 High Point at the Summit Rest Area

The bronze bust of Abraham Lincoln at the I-80 High Point / Summit Rest Area between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming

The bronze bust of Abraham Lincoln at the I-80 High Point

So it’s not hard to get to, easy to miss, and maybe not even that impressive.  But the I-80 High Point – also known as the Summit Rest Area or the Lincoln Rest Area at Exit 323 between Cheyenne and Laramie, WY – is still worth a quick stop, if for no other reason than to use the restrooms and see the sign:

“Welcome. Summit Rest Area. Highest Point on Interstate 80. Elev 8640. WYO Department of Transportation.”



There are a couple other reasons you might want to stop in the area.  First, you could visit the Pilot Hill Aircraft Arrow.  Second, there’s an enormous bronze head of Abraham Lincoln.  Third, there is a museum in the rest area building that has some pretty interesting information / exhibits in it.  Fourth, some very large windows look down on I-80, and while not fascinating, it’s pretty cool to watch all the traffic going by.

Watching I-80 from the comfort of the indoor observation area at the Summit Rest Area / I-80 High Point between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming

Watching I-80 from the comfort of the indoor observation area

The bronze Lincoln head was created to honor the former president’s 150th birthday in 1959.  Because of the temperature swings on the Wyoming plains, its sculpture – Robert Russin, a professor at the nearby University of Wyoming – created the head in Mexico City.  He then transported it back the United States with an armed guard from the Mexican Army for fear of thieves on the way.


Once the sculpture reached Laramie, WY (in the middle of a snowstorm), the movers neglected to consider the low powerlines in the town – very early in the morning, the telephone and electric wires were cut so the sculpture could move through the town to its destination overlooking the highest point on coast-to-coast Lincoln Highway.  The head was moved to its present location with the completion of I-80 in 1969.  The head is over 13ft. tall (not including the pedestal) and weighs over 2 tons.

The Lincoln Bust upon its pedestal at the I-80 High Point / Summit Rest Area between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming

The Lincoln Bust upon its pedestal

So it’s just a stop along the highway – but a great little place to stop if you happen to be in the area!

Approaching the Summit Rest Area / I-80 High Point between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming

Approaching the rest area

Road ★★★★★

Signs ★★★★☆

Scenery ★★☆☆☆

Facilities ★★★★☆

Would I go 100 miles out of my way for this? ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Cars on I-80 from the observation area inside the rest area building at the Summit Rest Area / I-80 High Point between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming

Cars on I-80 from the observation area inside the rest area building

Key GPS Coordinates

I-80 High Point: 41.23684N / -105.43571W (41° 14′ 12.624″ / -105° 26′ 8.556″) (8,360ft.)

Plaque honoring the first president of the Lincoln Highway Association at the Summit Rest Area / I-80 High Point between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming

Plaque honoring the first president of the Lincoln Highway Association

Getting to the I-80 High Point

From Laramie, WY, drive east on I-80 about 9 miles.  Take Exit 323 toward Happy Jack Road.  Turn left to cross the highway, then make two quick rights into the rest area.

The Lincoln Bust just before sunset at the Summit Rest Area / I-80 High Point between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming

The Lincoln Bust just before sunset

From Cheyenne, WY, drive west on I-80 about 36 miles.  Take Exit 323 toward Happy Jack Road; turn right at the end of the exit ramp.  Make an almost immediate right onto Happy Jack Road and another immediate right into the rest area.

The sun sets behind the Lincoln Head at the Summit Rest Area / I-80 High Point between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming

The sun sets behind the Lincoln Head

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