By: Andrew Beck
Murder mystery lovers beware: the iconic 1990s “Twin Peaks” is returning after 25 years off the air. The show, directed by David Lynch, was almost entirely filmed in Snoqualmie Valley, WA. Since the show ended, Snoqualmie and North Bend have grown significantly in population, but retained the small town feel the “Twin Peaks” series depicts. Filming for the new season recently ended, and the show is set to be released in 2017. A few original cast members are expected to return, including the show’s main character, played by Kyle MacLachlan. Using this guide, you can revive old memories of “Twin Peaks’” mysterious power by visiting the Valley for yourself.
For those who haven’t seen it, the show follows Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) as he investigates the murder of a popular local cheerleader named Laura Palmer. Season 1 of the show has received multiple awards since the last episode aired in 1991, including being named no. 12 in Entertainment Weekly’s “25 Best Cult TV Shows from the Past 25 years,” and one of Time Magazine’s “Best TV Shows of all Time,” named in 2007. Critics of the show say the plotline flies off the rails toward the end of Season two, but that is typical of David Lynch’s peculiar style. There are multiple locations in the show that have not changed since Twin Peaks ended, and you can see them all in just a few hours. Take the Twin Peaks tour of Snoqualmie Valley, starting with the Double R Diner.
The Double R Diner
The Double R Diner shown in the series still operates today, though it is actually called Twede’s Café. To film the new series, the building was restored to its original splendor. Shelly and Bobby, a young and rebellious couple, frequently chatted at the stout booths along the wall. Famous for their cherry pie both in the show and real life, Twede’s Café has been a staple “greasy spoon” for years. It’s located at 137 North Bend Way, North Bend, WA. They’re open from 8:00am – 8:00pm on weekdays and 6:30am – 8:00pm on the weekends.
Snoqualmie Falls and the Great Northern Hotel
The next stop on your “Twin Peaks” tour is Snoqualmie Falls and the Salish Lodge (called the Great Northern in the show). Drive west on Railroad Avenue toward Fall City, and follow the signs for Snoqualmie Falls. The address is 6501 Railroad Ave, Snoqualmie, WA. Once you’ve parked, you can walk across the foot bridge to the Salish Lodge, which will be off to the left. The hotel was used for lots of scenes, including the show’s intro sequence. You may remember Aubrey Horn daintily walking the halls looking for trouble, or an exhausted Ben Horne trying to resolve that trouble. Interior shots of the hotel were constructed as a set and filmed elsewhere.
You will recognize the lodge because it is situated on the edge of Snoqualmie Falls, providing a misty and expansive view of the Valley. If you plan on visiting during the winter months, make sure to bring an umbrella! Rainfall can cause high river levels, which causes the waterfall to be much more powerful. This causes it to rain around the vicinity of the waterfall almost constantly during the wet months.
If you’re up for a hike, you can actually climb the mountain “Twin Peaks” was named for. Mt. Si, which is actually one mountain but was filmed at different angles to give “Twin Peaks” two peaks. It’s named after an early settler on the mountain, “Uncle Si”. There are two main trails that you can use to hike the mountain, both are great for beginners and experienced hikers alike. The shorter trail, called “Little Si”, takes about 1.5 hours to climb, and you’re rewarded with views that extend dozens of miles. For those with ambition, “Big Si” takes about 3.5 hours up and 2.5 hours down. To hike Big Si, make sure you pack a meal and plenty of water. Remember not to take anything you don’t need, every pound will count when you’re carrying it.
The trail is beautiful and neatly kept. According to the Washington Trails Association, the trail is 8 miles in total and you’ll gain over 3,000 feet in altitude! Logs and large rocks are used to make steps where the incline is too steep, and there are trail markers along the way. The environment at the top is surreal, and is very rocky, with huge boulders made of granite. Evergreen trees and thick-leaved shrubs cling to the steep mountain face, and there’s an abundance of chipmunks that feast on the lunches of resting hikers. Birds affectionately called “camp robbers”, small brown birds that hop around the mountain summit, are very docile and will even eat out of your hand if you have a good trail mix. When it’s cloudy, everything you see is white except for the ground. You can hardly tell how high you are, and the fog permeates the landscape, almost swirling between the trees and rocks around you. You cannot see more than 10-15 feet away.
When the sky is clear, hikers have a 360 degree, unobstructed view. All around you are sweeping green valleys of the Cascade Foothills, and looking beyond those are the tall, snowy peaks of Snoqualmie Pass. You can see I-90 carve through the forested hills, all the way to Seattle. With good eyesight or binoculars, you can even see the Space Needle and the Puget Sound.
“Twin Peaks” fans will love seeing the Valley from the perspective of Agent Cooper himself. When you’re finished with the tour, there’s no need to rush off. Beyond “Twin Peaks,” the Snoqualmie Valley is teeming with beauty and lure. The river is wide and slow-moving, with old trees hanging far out over the surface. You can see the huge log from the show’s into sequence still sitting on Railroad Ave. The Snoqualmie Railroad station is the oldest operating station in the state, and train rides are available April through October. The station is also home to the Northwest Railway Museum, which casts a historical light on the importance the Snoqualmie Valley played in the development of western Washington. Whether you have a day or a whole week, you’ll never run out of things to do in Snoqualmie and the Cascade Foothills.