Much has been said and hours spent reading and re-reading Stephenie Meyers hit ‘Twilight’ series of romantic novels, and appropriately so. While targeted for the female core, there is much that is charming and endearing in these amorous works. Regardless of one’s perspective, Twilight is a current phenomenon and every biker with a sweetheart will ‘Win’ by taking his ‘babe’ on this beautiful Northwest ride.
Twilight is a tale of love between a modern vampire and a mystery struck teen – set in the dreary overcast of Forks, Washington – the perfect contemporary sun-less setting to accommodate 20th century vampirism. To create the rainy charm of the Northwest, director Catherine Hardwicke chose nearby communities in Oregon and Washington.
This motorcycle tour chronicles over a dozen locations that are part of the movie. The tour covers 234 miles with an estimated drive time of 5.5 hours, but the true Twilightest will want to spend time viewing, photographing and savoring each stop. Our family broke the tour into two days – the first day; visiting points west and north of Portland, and the second day; visiting locations east of Portland.
Our start is Portland, Oregon and travels northwest on US-30 to St. Helens, OR, a short 29 mile trip taking 45 minutes. As a side note, on your way to St Helens on US-30, you’ll cross the Willamette River over the St. Johns Bridge, a 2067 ft bridge that features two 408 ft Gothic towers. The adjacent community named Cathedral Park is named after the Gothic Cathedral like towers of the bridge. Be certain to look down river as you cross the bridge. You’ll see the Portland skyline as well as the distinctive arch of the Fremont Bridge. You’ll also pass Suavie Island a landmark of the Portland area. The island is devoted to farming and originally inhabited by the Multnomah Indians before they were decimated by disease and illness from foreign exploration. The island continues to provide fertile soil yielding wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables and serves as a get-away for residents and visitors alike. If you have time, a visit to the Suavie Island is worth your time, and the fruit is excellent.
St Helens, Oregon
Of all the locations featured in our Twilight Tour, St Helen’s, Oregon accounts for the largest number of scenes. First stop is Bella’s Forks home, which is actually located at 184 S 6th St, St Helens, OR 97051. Turn right onto Columbia Blvd and ride 1 mile. Then turn right at 6th street. Don’t be fooled by the ‘No Outlet’ sign – Bella’s home is up the street, last home on the left. The home was shot extensively in the movie, for both inside and exterior footage. The sequel ‘New Moon’ also features the home. It is a private residence and the owners value their privacy, but are open to exterior photos.
The next stop is a visit to Larry Gibons owner of local deli and resident Twilight expert. Larry enjoys sharing knowledge of places to see in St. Helens. What may be even better, Larry is a biker from way back and currently rides a pristine black 1990 Heritage Softail Classic. That’s Larry standing by his bike in front of Geppetto’s. Larry has ridden since he was 12 years old and once owned a 1965 Harley Davidson panhead with mouse trap clutch and Girder front end.
To the right of Larry’s deli is the alleyway where Bella was followed by a group of unsavory young men. At the top of the alleyway to the right is the parking lot where Edward rescued Bella. The scene is one of the most dramatic with a vampirish twist. In this case rather than the hero riding in on a white stallion to rescue the damsel in distress, Edward, a vampire, rides in a Volvo and rescues Bella. I must admit, I’d hoped Edward would do something more aggressive with the bad guys. In the movie, the event took place in Port Angeles, WA.
At the top of the alleyway and to the left is the Thunderbird and Whale Bookstore – 260 S 2nd St. St. Helens, Or 97051. In reality the bookstore is a local attorney’s office, but in the movie, Bella travels to Port Angeles, WA to the Thunderbird and Whale Bookstore to purchase a book on the Quileute tribe of the Pacific Northwest after doing some research on the Internet. The building was converted for exterior sequences of the bookstore.
Come back down the alleyway and turn left. At 251 S 1st St, St Helens, OR is Angel Hair Salon. In the movie the salon was converted to ‘Petite Jolie’ – the dress store where Bella and her girlfriends shopped for prom dresses. There are also two ‘Twilight Directors’ chairs you can occupy and take photos.
Continuing down 1st street, you’ll find Jilly’s Again -299 S 1st St, St Helens, OR. The owner provided the prom dresses used in the Petite Jolie store scene as well as various dresses for the promo scene.
The final St. Helens stop is The Bloated Toad aka Boldr – 330 S 1st St. St. Helens, OR 97051. This is the location of the restaurant Bella and Edward went for dinner after Edward saved Bella from ruffians. Don’t be disappointed, it’s not as decorated as in the movie – no lights on the entry stair railing, etc., but this is the place none-the-less.
The tour continues north on US-30 toward Longview, WA, approximately 22 beautiful miles of 2-lane highway with verdant lush green hills and an occasional lily-laden pond. Soak in the splendor. Just beyond Rainier, Oregon, you cross over the Columbia River via the Lewis and Clark Bridge/OR-433. There are typically several freighters at anchor. If you’re lucky, you’ll also catch the scent of fresh-cut timber with lumber yards on both sides of the bridge as you enter Longview, WA. Take a right at Industrial Way, continue on 3rd Ave, merge onto WA-432 via the ramp to I-5, then take I-5 toward Portland, and leave the freeway at exit 30 toward Kalama. Drive to Elm & N 4th Street and you’ve arrived at Forks High School – well, not really. That’s just what the movie called Kalama High School. You’ll walk the sidewalks Bella and Edward strolled, and the famous parking lot where Edward saved Bella from being smashed by an out-of-control van. Make certain you get photos to show your friends, and you’re off down I-5 to Portland, Oregon.
Next stop on the tour is Madison High School – 2735 NE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR 97220. To get there, travel down I-5 and take I-205 south toward Salem. Take exit 23A for US-30 Bypass toward Sandy Blvd. Merge onto NE Killingsworth St/US-30. Turn right at NE Sandy Blvd/US-30 (signs for Sandy Blvd W). Turn left at NE 82nd Ave/OR-213 and travel to 2735 NE 82nd Ave – Madison High School. You’ll recall the first time Bella saw Edward was in the cafeteria at Forks High School. In reality, the cafeteria was at Madison High School. While you’ll not likely be able to visit, the Biology class scenes were also filmed at Madison.
Do you remember the greenhouse field trip scenes? Right after Edward saved Bella from the van, they went to the hospital. The next scene in the movie, the Forks High youth board a bus for a greenhouse field trip. The greenhouse is part of the campus at Clackamas Community College, 19600 S Molalla Ave, Oregon City, OR. – just 23 minutes and 17 miles from Madison High.
Another 11 miles and 17 minutes from Clackamas Community College is the community of Carver, OR. Carver is a small town set along scenic Clackamas River. Central to Carver is the Carver Café. In the film Bella and her father ate breakfast and lunch at a café in Forks. These scenes were really filmed at the Carver Café.
From Carver we ride to Corbett, Oregon, a beautiful community perched on the hills overlooking the picturesque Columbia River Gorge. The View Point Inn [40301 E Larch Mountain Road, Corbett, OR 97019] was the setting for the prom scenes near the close of Twilight. Bella and Edward walked the path through the Monte Carlo arch to enter the prom, and then walked to the dreamily lighted gazebo for the scene where Bella thinks Edward is going to bite and transform her into a vampiress. Of particular note is the Twilight walk.
Cascade Locks, OR
The route suggested in the Google map above directs you to ride down to I-84 to travel 18 miles/32 mins to the Bridge of the Gods. An alternate, more scenic route follows the Historic Columbia River Highway. Travel time will be longer, but the ride is relaxed and extraordinarily beautiful. [For details on this ride check out ‘A Day Closer to Heaven ‘] The bridge is featured at the beginning of the film. It is an all steel structure including the 1,856 ft. bridge deck and spans the Columbia River at Cascade Locks, Oregon. A word of caution, steel deck bridges are squirrely to ride on – maintain a slow speed with no quick movements and you’ll be fine.
The final stop of this tour is in the foothills of charming Washougal, Washington. The address for the site is 218 Rim Drive, Washougal, WA 98671. Two great scenes were shot here. The first is the baseball scene where Bella, Edward and the Cullen family play in the large open field, and are joined by Laurent, Victoria and James. James catches Bella’s scent resulting in a dramatic face-off, which leads to a violent showdown between James, Edward and the Cullen’s as they save Bella from James. The second scene is the romantic ‘tree scene’ where Edward and Bella sit near the top of towering fir trees with the Columbia River Gorge in the background.
While not included in this ride, the most dedicated ‘Twilighter’ might want to actually travel to Forks, Washington. The community is small with logging being the primary economic driver. While I can understand your desire to see Forks, little of the footage in the film was shot in Forks. Nothing to my thinking can justify the 9+ hr round trip drive from Portland, OR., but if you must, have at it.
We hope you enjoyed this tour and that you’re looking forward to the next Twilight series movie – New Moon, scheduled for release in mid-July 2009. Happy Riding!!!
Here’s a Google Map link for your reference. Address locations will be included for each of the stops.
Twilight Tour map