On our way back from Las Vegas, I mentioned to Charles that I’d like to stop at the Baker thermometer to get some photos. Granted we did stop there on the way out for gas, but I was recovering from a painful dental visit and I had forgotten about the needed photos. Charles of course remembered that and promptly replied, “We were just there last week in the heat of the afternoon when the thermometer read an impressive 103. That would have been the good shot. It’s only 10 in the morning and it’s not even going to be 100 degrees when we get there.”
I’m just going to call that wishful thinking, because when we pulled in to Baker at a little past 10, it was already a sweltering 104. But hey, it was a good shot.
The brainchild of Willis Herron a local businessman, the 134-foot tall thermometer was constructed in 1990 as a tribute to the record high temperature in the US — 134 degrees in nearby Death Valley. Unfortunately Herron didn’t account for the high winds in the area in his original plans, and as a result a strong gust brought the monument down, smashing a nearby gift shop that was under construction. Undaunted Herron rebuilt the thermometer, this time filling it with concrete to keep it steady. So far, so good.
And although the thermometer was shut down for a while after Herron’s death, today it’s up and running again. It’s not hard to find either. Just take the Baker exit on Interstate 15 and follow the main drag until you see it on the south side of the street. To be honest, you can see it towering over the hamlet before you even exit the freeway.
The best vantage point is from the Del Taco parking lot next door, because once you pull up too close to the thermometer, it’s hard to get a good photo. Accessible parking is available in the lot, and it’s a nice level roll over to the far end, where you’ll get a good view of it all. And if it’s as hot as it was during our visit, then you may just want to wander into to the Del Taco for a nice cold drink.
It’s a fun little roadside attraction, so stop in a check it out next time you are on your way to Sin City. After all, it’s not every day that you get a chance to see the world’s largest thermometer!