This may be the Golden Age of Television, but such gilded eras must start somewhere – and that somewhere might be Twin Peaks. Co-created by David Lynch, this cult-classic drama series of the 1990s blended crime, mystery, philosophy and humor in a fictional Washington town populated by quirky characters.
With a new season airing this year, here’s how to visit key filming locations.
The heart of Twin Peaks country is the Snoqualmie Valley, in the hills east of Seattle. It’s at an easy distance for a day trip from the big city. Drop in first to Fall City, a town that is home to the building which starred as Bang Bang Bar, generally referred to as The Roadhouse. This was Twin Peaks’ adult entertainment venue, filled with couples and bikers listening to live music and downing a beer or two.
One of the most memorable scenes here featured the mystical Giant appearing in a vision to FBI Agent Dale Cooper, warning him of a murder with the line ‘It is happening again.’ Nowadays the century-old building houses the Fall City Roadhouse (fcroadhouse.com), offering food and accommodation.
Out back is another location: the cabin used to depict The Bookhouse, headquarters of the secret society known as The Bookhouse Boys.
Location: 4200 Preston-Fall City Rd SE, Fall City
White Tail Falls
Heading farther south-east to the town of Snoqualmie, the next major location is this impressive waterfall, falling majestically across our screens as the opening credits played to the haunting theme of composer Angelo Badalamenti.
In reality known as the Snoqualmie Falls (snoqualmiefalls.com), it’s a significant site to the Native American Snoqualmie people, who say the mist from the falls connects the heaven and earth. Since 1899 it’s also been the site of a hydroelectric power plant, which you can learn more about at the nearby Snoqualmie Falls Hydroelectric Museum.
Its great beauty makes the location a popular tourist attraction, and there’s an observation platform from which to catch that Twin Peaks selfie featuring you, the falls and our next location: The Great Northern.
Location: 6501 Railroad Ave SE, Snoqualmie
The Great Northern
Sitting proudly above the waterfall, this grand hotel with timber interiors bearing Native American totems was the domain of scheming businessman Benjamin Horne and his daughter Audrey. It’s also where Agent Cooper was shot by an unknown assailant in the cliffhanger ending to the first season.
The first hotel built here was the 1916 Snoqualmie Falls Lodge, a small inn where travelers rested on their journey through the mountains. In 1988 it was remodeled and expanded to become the upmarket Salish Lodge. With its spa treatments and scenic views, it’s a good base from which to explore the Twin Peaks universe. At the end of the day the hotel bar will serve you a Dale Cooper cocktail in memory of the Twin Peaks agent, featuring gin, cider, and the establishment’s in-house honey.
Location: 6501 Railroad Avenue SE, Snoqualmie
Across the Snoqualmie River from the Salish Lodge, Railroad Avenue takes you past the Northwest Railway Museum and the giant Snoqualmie Centennial Log which appeared in the credits of Twin Peaks’ pilot episode. A left turn on Meadowbrook Way will lead you back to the river and the most chilling of filming locations: Ronette’s Bridge.
This railroad bridge was the location where a dazed and injured Ronette Pulaski was found, having escaped the fate of the murdered Laura Palmer. In the present day the rails have been removed and the bridge is now part of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, used by walkers and cyclists. Despite this healthy modern purpose, the dark girders of the structure still seem to loom ominously over the waters below.
Location: 40412 SE Reinig Rd, Snoqualmie
Sheriff’s Station and Packard Sawmill
North of Ronette’s Bridge, 396th Drive leads through trees to the location which stood in as the sheriff’s station, occupied by Sheriff Harry S Truman and his loyal deputies. It’s instantly recognizable, though it’s now occupied by the DirtFish rally driving school (dirtfish.com).
From the parking lot, there’s a clear view of another Twin Peaks landmark, the Packard Sawmill. This facility was portrayed as the key asset of the Packard and Martell families. Opened in 1917 as the Weyerhaeuser Mill, the facility closed in 2003 and now only a single smokestack is left to bear witness to its history and television fame.
Location: 7001 396th Drive SE, Snoqualmie.
Double R Diner
Back over the river on Railroad Avenue, head southeast to the small town of North Bend. Here you’ll find the most fondly remembered Twin Peaks location, the Double R Diner. This old-school café, presided over by owner Norma Jennings in her retro blue uniform, was the quintessential small town eatery in the series. It was also a favorite haunt of Agent Cooper, who famously praised its cherry pie and ‘damn fine cup of coffee.’
Actually known as Twede’s Café, the family-owned diner that opened in 1941 has been through various ups and downs since its 1990s starring role (including a fire). With the filming of the new Twin Peaks season, it was transformed into its old appearance. If you visit now, you can still drink coffee, eat pie, and eavesdrop on small-town secrets.
Location: 137 W North Bend Way, North Bend.
‘Welcome to Twin Peaks’ sign
For a bonus location, steer your vehicle to 41483 SE Reinig Rd, Snoqualmie, then carefully pull over. You’re gazing at the view once graced by the ‘Welcome to Twin Peaks’ sign in the opening credits of every episode. The sign is no longer there, but the scenery hasn’t much changed. Sit back, take in the view of the mountains, and try to interpret the mysteries whistling through the mighty trees that Agent Cooper so admired.
Just remember – the owls are not what they seem.
Tim Richards was hosted by Visit Seattle (visitseattle.org). Lonely Planet contributors do not accept freebies in exchange for positive coverage.