Lost Highway (1997)

David Lynch’s underappreciated masterpiece “Lost Highway” shot around Southern California, Death Valley and the Nevada desert.

Early in the film, Fred and Renee, played by Bill Pullman and Patricia Arquette respectively, receive a mysterious video tape at their doorstep.  David Lynch used what was, at that time, his own home as the location.

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LOCATION: 7035 Senalda Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90068

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Fred plays his saxophone at the Luna Lounge.  This was filmed at the Lankershim Arts Center in North Hollywood.

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LOCATION: 5108 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601

Fred ends up on death row for the murder of his wife.  The cell block wasn’t a prison at all, rather a creative re-purposing of a decommissioned fire station in downtown Los Angeles.  The same station was used for interior scenes for the original “Ghostbusters” firehouse.  Much like that film, only the interiors were used in the film, but here is a view of the exterior.  Today, the surrounding area has become run down and it isn’t the safest of places.

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LOCATION: 225 E 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

After some mysterious events, Pete, played by Balthazar Getty, awakens in Fred’s jail cell.  Baffled by this phenomenon, the police decide to release him.  Pete returns to his home, located in Northridge.

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LOCATION: 16706 Citronia St, Northridge, CA 91343

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Pete’s girlfriend Sheila, played by Natasha Gregson Wagner, lives at this house, located just a few blocks away from Pete’s place.

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LOCATION: 9532 McLennan Ave, Northridge, CA 91343

Pete works as a mechanic at Arnie’s, which was filmed at the Firestone building in Los Angeles.  No longer in service, the building, built in 1937, is designated as an historical monument by the city.

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LOCATION: 800 South La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

The place where Mr. Eddy becomes enraged at a tailgating driver requires a bit of effort if you want to visit the location. It was filmed on Mt Hollywood Dr, near the Griffith Observatory. Contrary to what is seen in the film, the road is actually completely inaccessible to the public by vehicle.  It is found along a fully paved road, but the road is gated off in all directions from motor vehicles.  Aside from park rangers, the road is primarily used by hikers and bicyclists.

The easiest way to visit is by parking at the Griffith Observatory.  The lot at the Observatory itself is almost always full.  You’re unlikely to find a spot in the actual lot.  However, you can park along East or West Observatory Road.  Unfortunately, these are now paid parking spaces and somewhat expensive.  There are a few free auxiliary lots, but those fill up quickly as well, plus they put you pretty far away from where you need to be to get to the location.  You shouldn’t have a difficult time finding a paid parking space on Observatory Road, unless you’re arriving at peak evening hours.  Your best bet is to arrive early.

The easiest way to spot the trail head to reach the location is to look for the tunnel when approaching Griffith Observatory.  Most traffic to reach the Observatory passes through it.  The tunnel was famously seen in Back To The Future Part 2, when Biff and Marty McFly (riding a hoverboard) fight over a sports almanac.  The very first road on your right, once you pass through the tunnel, is where you will need to hike.  It will either be gated off, or if the gates are open, a guard will be parked there, making sure no motorists attempt to drive up it.  The road is freely accessible to pedestrians on foot or bike, however, and you’ll likely see a lot of both.  You simply take that road for about 0.5 miles to reach the location. At least you can take photographs in relative safely here, without concern for traffic on the road.

LOCATION: Mt Hollywood Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (GPS coordinates: 34.126026, -118.306921)

It is a moderate hike.  Much of it is uphill, but considering you can walk a paved road the entire way, as well as the fact that there are resting spots, it’s certainly manageable for most.  A bottle of water should suffice, unless it’s an extremely hot day.

If you want to get the most out of your money for paying for a parking space near Griffith Observatory, we recommend continuing along the same path to the location of the dance scene in “La La Land.” That location is another 1.5 miles up the same road.

After Alice meets Pete at the mechanic’s, the pair begin an affair.  Alice is waiting at the Palm Tree Inn in North Hills, calling down to him from the second floor to say that she already got them a room.

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LOCATION: 8424 Sepulveda Blvd, North Hills, CA 91343

Pete pulls up to this spot in the parking lot, where he talks to Alice.

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The cops watch from the parking lot as the two go into the hotel room.  The same motel has also been seen in the TV series “My Name Is Earl.”

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Near the end of the film, Fred arrives at the Lost Highway Hotel.  This was actually a composite of two separate buildings.  The exterior, seen below, is an abandoned building located at Death Valley Junction, near the California / Nevada border.  The same building was seen in the 1986 film “The Hitcher.”  The interior corridors were actually filmed across the street at the Amargosa Opera House and Hotel (608 Death Valley Jct, Death Valley, CA 92328).  This area is very much in the middle of nowhere.

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LOCATION: Near the intersection of State Line Rd / CA-127, Death Valley Junction, CA 92328 (nearest address is 608 CA-127, Death Valley Junction, CA 92328)

Related articles: Mullholland Drive (2001), Twin Peaks

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