Where to geek out on Twin Peaks in and around North Bend
Yes, there’s more to North Bend than Twin Peaks, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit the sites from the TV show, especially since many of them are worthwhile destinations in their own right.
Every year, approximately 300 diehard fans travel to North Bend for the annual Twin Peaks Festival, usually held in August, where activities include touring sites made famous by the show, screenings of David Lynch films, and of course, cherry pie and damn fine coffee. In addition to hobnobbing with each other, attendees also get to hang out with cast members. Although the line up changes each year, Sherrilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne) and Russ Tamblyn (Dr. Jacoby) are amongst those who make regular appearances. Dates and details for this year's festival -- which marks the 30th anniversary of the show's debut -- will be revealed on January 1.
Whether or not you’re attending the festival, if you’re planning to stay in the Snoqualmie Valley overnight, there’s no better place than the Salish Lodge and Spa, which sits on top of the stunning Snoqualmie Falls. The lodge was used as the exterior for the Great Northern Hotel and prominently featured in the opening credits. It's also basically a living postcard image for the area. Agent Dale Cooper famously stayed in the Great Northern Hotel, but in real life, you might spot local celebrities like Russell Wilson and Ciara in the dining room. The lodge has two different dining options: an upscale restaurant featuring a locally-sourced seasonal menu and a casual bar menu upstairs.
The Salish Lodge and Spa offers a Twin Peaks package and several Twin Peaks extras for fans, including a cherry pie-themed spa treatment, signature cocktails, and absolutely no chance of being possessed by a deranged murder sprit during your stay.
Even if you don’t plan to stay at the lodge, don’t miss the 268-foot-tall natural wonder that is Snoqualmie Falls (Whitetail Falls in the show). The falls are even more breathtaking in person than they are on television and there’s a large public viewing area open from dawn to dusk with plenty of free parking. The observation deck, restrooms, and gift shop are wheelchair accessible. There’s also a two-acre public park with picnic tables and a hiking trail to the base of the falls.
Another landmark worth visiting is the DirtFish Rally School, which served as the Sheriff’s office in the series. The business is very welcoming to Twin Peaks fans and has been known to let visitors sit behind the desk like Lucy. Best yet, you can watch the souped up rally cars zipping around the track or even book a class to drive one yourself. DirtFish Rally School offers options for beginners and professional drivers.
As a bonus, from the parking lot of the Dirtfish Rally School you can see an abandoned smokestack from the old Weyerhaeuser sawmill, known to Twin Peaks fans as the Packard Sawmill. Ronette’s Bridge (actually named Reinig Bridge) is also nearby, although since the series aired its been converted from a railway bridge to a pedestrian bridge.
Twin Peaks’ favorite watering hole, the building that served as the exterior for The Bang Bang Bar, also known as The Roadhouse, is in nearby Fall City. However, fans might be disappointed to find The Roadhouse and Inn has been remodeled. Although the new green shingled exterior is arguably more attractive than the former plain white facade, it’s no longer instantly recognizable from the show and is unlikely to feature performances by James Hurley or "The Nine Inch Nails." But the Roadhouse Restaurant and Inn offers a menu of pub fare and overnight lodging upstairs. The building that served as the Bookhouse is located in back.
If you’ve got a hankering for cherry pie, you can’t do better than Twede’s Cafe, which served up damn fine cups of coffee and cherry pie as the R&R Diner in the series. Twede’s Cafe is a community gathering spot in the heart of North Bend’s historic district. Aside from its connection with Twin Peaks, it's famous for its long list of burgers and made from scratch menu. It's probably the most popular tourist stop in the town, but let's be real: some inflated prices and a bit of a wait aren't going to keep you from embracing your inner Dale Cooper.
Sadly, the most iconic landmark of all is no longer there. In 2017, the city of Snoqualmie installed a real-life replica of the "Welcome To Twin Peaks" sign and it was stolen in short order. Perhaps it's just as well since the series had a habit of perplexing viewers by moving the sign to different locations in different episodes. Maybe that means it wasn’t even stolen at all, but rather drawn into the Black Lodge or somewhere else in the Twin Peaks universe, a place where nothing is what it seems and even signs don’t have a permanent home.