A Twin Peaks Locations Tour

When Twin Peaks first aired here in the UK in 1990 I was obsessed, collecting articles from magazines and recording each episode to VHS; a David Lynch-obsessed 16 year old who dreamed of drinking black coffee at the Double R Diner. 32 years later, I did just exactly that.

Back in 2008 I took my first trip to Seattle and spent a drizzly morning getting to Snoqualmie Falls on the bus, glimpsing the Salish Lodge (which was used as the exterior of the Great Northern Hotel in Twin Peaks) from the viewing platform and waiting for the skies to clear. I don’t remember much else about that trip so earlier this year I decided to book another Seattle trip, and this time planned to devote more time to seeing some locations. Unfortunately, as a non-driver, some of these locations would prove difficult to reach and this is where the tour comes in.

It hadn’t crossed my mind that there would be a Twin Peaks tour, and up until a few years ago, there wasn’t, and one local company offered a handful of key locations for an extortionate price. So David, a Seattle-based Twin Peaks fan, figured there was a market for a specialised tour at a more reasonable price, offering visitors and fellow fans a guided tour of memorable spots from the original two seasons, Fire Walk With Me, and the Limited Series (Season 3). And thanks to David, I spent a day away from the city seeing parts of North Bend, Snoqualmie and the beauty of the Pacific North West.

The day started at David’s pick up point where he had faithfully recreated the famous Red Room, the first of the day’s photo spots. Two other fans joined me in a comfortable, air-conditioned Suburban on a 4+ hour journey, and since the first stop was a bit of a drive away, David ensured we had some FBI files to read on the way, filled with information about the stops on the tour and their relevance to the world of Twin Peaks.

The ride itself was a scenic one and out of the SUV window I had some gorgeous views of the famous Twin Peaks as we headed to our first stop, Olallie State Park. Olallie Peak looms in the background of the scenes from Fire Walk With Me set at the Deer Meadow Sheriff’s Station. The backwater station is actually a residential property in the state park, and the scene where Agent Desmond and the local Sheriff have their fight is based right here.

This is one of the most photogenic spots in the park (and there are many), recognisable as Wind River, the spot where Teresa Banks’s body is seen floating, wrapped in plastic.

The woods inside the park are home to a towering collection of firs and cedars, many of them hundreds of years old and instantly evocative of Lynch’s scenes. In The Limited Series (I’ll call it The Return), Truman and his team head to these woods, and Bobby Briggs tells tales of his father and Jack Rabbit’s Place. Naido the eyeless woman is found here, and a vortex appears above this spot.

This tour is all about detail and a deep love for the show, its locations and its lore – credit to ‘Special Agent’ David for going the extra mile with this specific prop, found in its exact location.

The Mount Si Motel appeared twice in David Lynch’s story. Firstly, it’s seen in Fire Walk With Me when Leland makes an arrangement to meet up with Teresa and some friends, unaware that one of the women would be his daughter Laura. It appeared again as the ‘Red Diamond City Motel’ in The Return as he leaves the convenience store.

As we approached the iconic junction at North Bend, I couldn’t help feeling emotional. There was the iconic sign: Twede’s Cafe. For me, this was probably the highlight, and the location which spawned the idea of making a Peaks-related trip. David insisted I would have time for a coffee here, but I’m so grateful we got to stay for lunch. The menu looked great but there was only one choice for me: black coffee and cherry pie. It’s not easy to truly explain what it meant to sit there in the RR Diner, but I bought some coffee and goodies which I hoped would survive four more flights and, caffeinated and sugared up, continued with the tour.

Opposite the diner is a building which is more famous as Nadine’s silent drape runner store, Run Silent, Run Drapes…

The late Harry Dean Stanton returned in Season 3 and sits with a coffee on this bench, before witnessing a car accident. The view from this park is simply beautiful.

The real owner of the New Fat Trout Trailer Park appeared as himself in The Return! It doesn’t look half as atmospheric or as creepy as in Lynch’s version.

Another key interserction was next on the tour – and for this (and other locations) David had loaded up key scenes which played on screens in the SUV so we could get a truly meta experience and appreciate our surroundings. This junction features in one of Fire Walk With Me‘s most tense scenes, when Laura and Leland are parked at the traffic lights and Mike, the One Armed Man, appears next to them. The same intersection appeared in The Return as the scene of the accident where Richard Horne hits the little boy.

Reinig Bridge is a trestle bridge crossing the Snoqualmie River. Like many of the stops on this tour, the beauty of the actual surroundings has a dark connection with the show: this is the bridge Ronette Pulaski is seen crossing the day after Laura’s murder in the pilot episode. It’s also the perfect spot for photos of the Snoqualmie River and its banks.

A new version of the ‘Welcome to Twin Peaks’ sign was put up when The Return aired in 2017. Unfortunately, thieves and bad drivers ensured it didn’t stay long so I assumed photo ops were out of the question. But while I hopped out of the car to take in the amazing views, David produced his own home-made version of the sign which we held up at the exact spot it’s seen in the show.

Seeing locations from the pilot and title sequences was incredible, and we were in for a triple whammy at the next stop. The only remaining smoke stack of the sawmill (the Packard Sawmill in the show) is a stone’s throw from the building used as the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station.

Parked outside was this!

In The Return, Sarah Palmer stops at Elk’s Point Bar for a drink before revealing her dark secret. In reality, it’s Smokey Joe’s in Snoqualmie.

This giant log appears in the show’s title sequence. It’s a 400 year old Douglas Fir which was displayed in Snoqualmie as part of the town’s centennial. Nearby is a gazebo which recalls a few scenes from the show, including Dr Jacoby following an invitation to meet ‘Laura’; in reality these scenes were shot in California but Snoqualmie’s gazebo was the inspiration.

It was time for me return to the Salish Lodge. The views across Snoqualmie Falls (White Tail Falls in the show) were clear and crisp, and although the interior scenes of the Great Northern were filmed elsewhere, it’s still an iconic piece of the Twin Peaks world.

The Roadhouse! Another iconic location from the show. It’s actually called The Roadhouse in real life, and I was happy to see it featured in The Return, complete with 80s-TV style musical appearances.

The Palmer House is another part of the state and wasn’t included on this tour, but we got to see two more residences from the show. Leo and Shelley Johnson’s house apparently looked quite scruffy when it was being scouted as a location, and Lynch deliberately told the owners to leave it that way for the filming. Directly opposite each other are Ed and Nadine Hurley’s house, and Ed’s Gas Station. Hardly recognisable in its current incarnation!

At the conclusion of the tour, David kindly dropped us downtown and presented us with some mementoes of the day. Walking around downtown Seattle in 38/100 heat after a day out in the fresh air and greenery was a bit much, so I retreated to my Airbnb for the evening.

I went online to seek out videos that other fans have made of their pilgrimages to ‘Twin Peaks’ and the impact the journey has made on them. I love hearing how and when people discover the show and the miles and energy that fans put into discovering locations which are meaningful and related to their interests.

I spent the next two days downtown on a different Seattle locations mission, but nothing gave me a buzz anywhere close to the one I felt on the tour. However, another mission was calling, as was a flight to New Mexico….but that’s for the next post.

Next posts:

A Last of Us Part II Tour of Seattle

A Breaking Bad / Better Call Saul Tour of Albuquerque (Part 3)

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