Surrounded by snowcapped mountains and panoramic views of Turnagain Arm, the quaint and historic village of Hope is less than a two-hour drive from Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, yet a world away.
The charming Kenai Peninsula community is made up of log cabins, gold rush-era relics, and 70 friendly residents who are happy to stop and tell you where to find the best stream to fish or pan for gold.
Things to Do
Hope is a great place to base your outdoor adventures in the adjacent Chugach National Forest. The community sits at the north end of the Resurrection Pass Trail, a 39-mile route that was originally carved by prospectors on their way to the goldfields of Hope. Today, it is one of the most popular trails on the Kenai Peninsula for hikers, backpackers, and mountain bikers. Eight public use cabins, reservable in advance, are scattered along its length for multi-day hikes and bike rides.
Other popular hiking trails in the area are the Gull Rock Trail and Hope Point Trail. The Gull Rock Trail travels a relatively flat 5.7 miles through the forest along cliffs above the Turnagain Arm. For those looking for a bigger challenge, the Hope Point Trail climbs 2,300 feet over 3.5 miles to the top of Hope Point, rewarding hikers with fantastic panoramic views of the Turnagain Arm and Chugach Mountains.
Whitewater rafting on Six Mile Creek is another popular activity in the Hope area. The creek offers some of the wildest water on the Kenai Peninsula, including stretches of Class V rapids. Outfitters lead half-day rafting trips down the wild river.
The Chugach National Forest around Hope provides numerous opportunities for recreational gold panners, including a 20-acre public claim that has been set aside near the Resurrection Pass trailhead for mining. No permits are needed to pan in the area and during the summer there usually are a few seasoned miners who don't mind showing newcomers some gold panning tips.
Much of Hope's golden past can be enjoyed at the Hope-Sunrise Mining Museum, a log cabin located just off Main Street. This small museum preserves artifacts from early miners and homesteaders that includes historic photos and gold-mining paraphernalia from the turn-of-the-century.
Staying & Eating in Hope
The heart of the Hope’s Main Street is the Seaview Café & Bar, a casual restaurant featuring local seafood that hosts outdoor live music most weekends in the summer. The Seaview also operates a waterfront RV park and campground adjacent to the café. Two other restaurants are located off of Hope Highway that serve up hearty meals, along with a coffee shop to fuel up for your adventures.
The Forest Service-operated Porcupine Campground is located at the end of Hope Highway and is the starting point for the Gull Rock and Hope Point Trail. Hope also offers a variety of cozy and rustic cabin rentals and B&Bs.
Hope enjoyed its heyday long before Anchorage was even founded. When the news of the discovery of gold in Six Mile Creek in 1895 reached Seattle, it set off one of Alaska’s first gold rushes. Within a year more than 3,000 stampeders were headed to find their fortunes in this slice of the Kenai Peninsula. The community was soon a thriving commercial center with stores, hotels, social halls, community councils, post offices, and saloons. Hope’s heyday was short-lived. By 1898, news of the famous Klondike Gold Rush in Canada’s Yukon had spread and most miners in Hope packed up for the Klondike. Among the original buildings still in use is the Hope Social Hall, which was built in 1902.