A Die-hard Fan’s Guide to the Real-life Twin Peaks
Who killed Laura Palmer?
David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” was a thoroughly groundbreaking, mind-bending, and to many, a life-altering cult hit when it first premiered in 1990. The show left many questions: Why were the owls not what they seemed? What happened to Bob? How does one find the Black Lodge? To balance the questions, there were, of course, the constants in the Twin Peaks universe: Nothing beats a damn good cup of coffee and a piece of cherry pie; homecoming queens have just as many “issues” as the rest of us, and we should trust questionable Tibetan detective techniques. So, if you find yourself journeying around the Pacific Northwest, check out some of these iconic Twin Peaks locations.
Big Ed’s Gas Station from Twin Peaks (1990)
Today, the pilot episode’s Big Ed’s Gas Farm, where Big Ed Hurley bided his time while pining for Norma Jennings, is now a New Age crystal shop (not sure how Big Ed would feel about that, but it seems strangely appropriate). The gas pumps were removed right after the show aired. It’s no surprise that after filming the pilot, they used a gas station in sunny California for the rest of the episodes.
Twin Peaks Road House
While in the area, stop in to see the Bookhouse Boys! The Roadhouse for the Twin Peaks vigilantes has gotten a facelift since the show was filmed, and it’s now called The Fall City Roadhouse. The interiors were filmed at what was then a Western-themed gay bar called Timberline Spirits, which is now closed, unfortunately.
Salish Lodge and Spa
The Salish Lodge & Spa is the location for Ben Horn’s Great Northern Hotel, and it’s the quintessential Pacific Northwest retreat. Visit to see the lodge’s exterior as well as the falls outside (featured prominently in the show). In real life, they’ve got a stunning spa, gorgeous views, and no Audrey Horn causing trouble up and down the lodge.
The waterfall that The Great Northern (aka the Salish Lodge and Spa) sits next to is Snoqualmie Falls, a gorgeous icon worth visiting in its own right.
Double R Diner (& Twin Peaks Filming Location)
The most iconic Twin Peaks filming location has to be the Double R Diner. The Thompson Cafe was built in 1941 and was witness to the end of the Depression, WWII and the timber industry boom. The cafe underwent a change of hands in the ‘50s and became known as the Mar-T Cafe, a favorite stomping ground for locals and mountain travelers. In 1990, when David Lynch was scouting filming locations for Twin Peaks, he came upon the Mar-T and fell in love with the cafe and the Snoqualmie Valley altogether. Visitors should try the “Twin Peaks cherry pie” and their “damn fine cup o’coffee,” they come highly recommended by Special Agent Dale Cooper.
Twin Peaks High School
In real life, Twin Peaks High School is actually called Mount Si High School, and while it’s had a few renovations done since the 1990’s, it’s still recognizable as the high school where Laura Palmer was elected homecoming queen; where Audrey Horn was tutored by Laura; where Shelly Johnson dropped out to marry Leo; and where Donna Hayward was secretly in love with James Hurley.
Entrance to the Black Lodge
According to the show, the Lodges are accessed by a pool of substance that “smells like scorched engine oil” which is surrounded by a ring of 12 sycamore trees. The show’s Ghostwood National Forest is portrayed by the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, and Glastonbury Grove, Owl Cave, and the entrance were filmed here. Visiting will probably not shed any more light on the utterly mysterious Black and White Lodges… but it can’t hurt, right?
Whether you’re pounding pie and coffee at the diner, scheming a deal at the Great Northern, or even trying to unlock the mysteries of the Black Lodge, there’s no denying that a trip to Twin Peaks would be a memorable (probably even life-changing, especially if your name is Dale Cooper) experience.
Have any of you ‘Peakers’ taken your fandom to the next level and taken this tour of the real Twin Peaks yet? Share your favorite snapshots of the hit show locations with us on Instagram.