North Bend and Snoqualmie provide access to miles of hiking and biking trails, parks with unique features and a lake for kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding. For those of us lucky enough to call it home, the Valley provides near-endless opportunities for outdoor adventures and a town and community that embrace an outdoor culture. If you fell in love with Twin Peaks in the nineties before kids, and are watching it today after those same kids are in bed, you can experience the Snoqualmie Valley with your family.
You can incorporate the traditional Twin Peaks sights and explore beyond the show’s locations to experience the natural beauty that define this region.
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Where To Start Your Outdoorsy Tour of Twin Peaks
Any good tour needs to start at a landmark. The Double R Diner to Twin Peaks fans, or Twede’s Café to locals, where you can get that damn fine cup of coffee, is located in downtown North Bend, WA (population 6,127 and growing daily). From there, you can lace up your hiking boots and take your pick of local trails.If you want a Twin Peaks experience, scale Mt. Si or Rattlesnake Ledge, as these mountains inspired the Twin Peaks and both are within greater North Bend. Mt Si is an eight-mile round trip. The trail climbs 4,000 vertical feet over four miles and opens to a view of the entire Valley. It’s the closest hike of this difficulty to the Seattle Metro area, and the most popular trail in Washington State, so go early or expect crowds as it sees 80,000-100,000 visitors a year.
Rattlesnake Ledge is more family friendly; it gains 1,160 feet over two miles of well-used trail and ends on a rocky outcropping the size of a football field. If you or your kids love climbing and unique views, the ledge is for you. Warning: Rattlesnake is a funny place, well loved by diverse groups of people. If you visit on a Friday afternoon, expect some people smoking marijuana on the trail. If you go on a Sunday morning, odds are you will pass a church group or two, complete with guitars and drums. It’s also worth noting that it’s not the best hike for anyone with a fear of heights.
If your kids are younger or new to hiking, try Snoqualmie Falls or Twin Falls or take a walk along the river at Olallie State Park. To hike down to Snoqualmie Falls, head towards the Salish Lodge, known to Twin Peaks fans as the Great Northern Hotel. Free parking for Falls visitors is located across the street from the hotel. Watch the Falls cascade over the rocks from above at Falls Viewpoint or you can choose to hike down to the base of Snoqualmie Falls, about three-quarters of a mile each direction.The Twin Falls trail is both shorter and easier than Mt Si, with 500 feet vertical gain and benches to rest little legs. In Olallie State Park, the path along the Snoqualmie River is perfect for skipping stones and climbing logs. Olallie is also a popular spot for climbers.
Where To Rock Climb in Twin Peaks
If you have experience and equipment and are looking for a day on the wall, Torguson Park, located in downtown North Bend has an active climbing wall. For families looking for a natural environment, Olallie is a good introductory area. You can reach Blackstone, another family-friendly climbing spot, off the Little Si trail in North Bend.
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For more challenging routes, travel east to Exit 38: Deception Crags and Mt Washington. Experienced climbers use these areas and suggestions are meant for those who climb, so please be aware of your abilities and considerate of others. If rock hopping with a Twin Peaks twist is more your speed, drive down Reinig Road into Snoqualmie, WA (population 12,630) and visit Three Forks Natural Area.On your way, stop and take your picture with the Twin Peaks sign, now a permanent fixture along Reinig Road. Three Forks encompasses a portion of the Snoqualmie River and surrounding area. It’s a short hike to the river with small kids, easily accomplished even while carrying towels, chairs and snacks. While many teens and families wade and play in the river in the summer, please be aware that the Snoqualmie River runs cold and frequently has submerged logs and obstacles. The latest advice from the King County Sheriff’s Office was to “stay the hell out of the river!”
Where To Swim, Boat or Paddle Board in Twin Peaks
Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area is a living, breathing outdoor center for those of us who live in the Valley. Families host picnics, friends meet to kayak or paddleboard and fishermen float in the lake, all with Rattlesnake Ledge as a dramatic backdrop. In the summer, kids swim to the rocks in the lake to jump into the cold water. Because of its size, Rattlesnake is only open to boats with an electric motor or no motor at all.In true Twin Peaks style, there’s more to Rattlesnake Lake than meets the eye. The town of Moncton, once a stop along the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, lies beneath the surface of the lake. After construction of Masonry Dam in 1915, water seeped through the porous rocks and soils and submerged the town. In 2015, the water level in the lake fell enough to expose foundations and fireplaces, reminders of what was once a booming town.
Best Family Biking Trails in Twin Peaks
Biking is one of those sports that encompass so many varieties; it’s hard to know where to start. As of this writing, the City of North Bend, in partnership with the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, is developing a 31-acre mountain biking and hiking park. While no firm opening date has been announced, work is underway.
For younger mountain bikers, try Fisher Park in Snoqualmie for trails, natural features and obstacles for smaller riders. The Snoqualmie Valley Trail, a 31.5-mile gravel trail accessible near downtown North Bend climbs towards Snoqualmie Pass. About 10 miles from North Bend, the trail skirts Rattlesnake Lake and connects to the cross-state John Wayne Trail, often referred to as the Iron Horse Trail until it crosses the pass.
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Bikers who prefer a more controlled ride can circle a half-mile paved trail at Centennial Fields in Snoqualmie or follow the trail and connect to the Meadowbrook Farm Interpretive Center in North Bend. For a Twin Peaks style bike ride with a little shiver of anticipation, take a headlamp, a bike light and your courage and ride through the Snoqualmie Tunnel, where a cool wind blows on the warmest days.
Lacking any light source, the train tunnel is a dark two-mile long section of the John Wayne Trail in Iron Horse State Park. (If you’re interested but need more information or a guide, see the Parent Resource section.)
What’s It Like To Live in Twin Peaks?
To some, the Snoqualmie Valley is an area with a televised identity. We are a fictional town, a movie set, a place to stop for coffee and cherry pie, where people visit to discover Twin Peaks. Those of us lucky enough to live here embrace a corner of the Northwest where Twin Peaks meets daily life, where mountains meet the sky and where natural beauty meets adventure.
Local Twin Peaks Resources for Parents
City of North Bend and City of Snoqualmie: Information on the Cities of North Bend and Snoqualmie, including outdoor recreation, tourism, government and local parks. Also has information about the North Bend Visitor’s Center, which provides Twin Peaks maps and information about series locations.
Visit the Washington Trails Association website for information on all the hikes included above, as well as hundreds more throughout the Cascades and Washington State. The WTA site also offers information on the John Wayne Trail/Snoqualmie Train Tunnel for the Snoqualmie Train Tunnel, including how to access the tunnel by bicycle and safety tips. Don’t have a bike, or want a guide for this adventure? Check out Compass Outdoor Adventures in downtown North Bend.
The Mountain Project has a great guide to rock climbing routes, including Blackstone, Exit 38 and Olallie State Park.
Meadowbrook Farms Interpretive Center website has lots of useful information on how to access to hiking trails, as well as paved bike trails, and parking.
If you need equipment or gear for outdoor adventures, – ski, rock and ice – check out Pro Ski and Mountain Service, located on North Bend Way in downtown North Bend. They also offer local and international guiding services.
Dirt Fish Rally School is a must-stop for any Twin Peaks fan. This rally car driving school is located at the Old Mill Site, or the Twin Peaks sheriff’s office.
Beth Swanson is a freelance writer from North Bend, WA. She strives to live a bold, adventurous life with a hidden health condition. She writes about her life, travels, parenting mistakes and misadventures on her blog, MyCrazyMessyAmazingLife.com. Follow her on twitter @crazymessyamaze.