The former gold-mining village of Hope is found nestled against the Chugach National Forest, and although it may not be as metropolitan a destination as Anchorage, the small town offers a welcome summer respite from the Kenai River, fish-related tourism.
What started as a mining camp for Resurrection Creek in 1896 has grown, maybe not in size, but in offerings. There is a selection of local businesses, specializing in everything from a quick bite to eat to fine art.
“We have a number of good restaurants and so many different activities,” said Diane Olthuis of the Hope and Sunrise Historical and Mining Museum. “Instead of a day trip, you might even think to make it an overnight.”
The town also has a selection of motels, cabin rentals and RV parks, as well as plenty of available camping.
“We have Coeur’d Alene campgrounds, which is just a tent campground,” Susan Anderson of the Hope Library said. “People go and stay up there all the time. It has a lot of great scenery, because it’s a unique valley, and a few hiking trails up there.”
The campgrounds are located along Palmer Creek road, which leads to Twin Lakes Trail.
“It was an old gold mining road, so there is some remnants of that up there,” Anderson said. “You have to hike up, ending in that beautiful valley with a waterfall coming out of it and a zigzag trail going up to two lakes.”
Trails are a big draw for Hope, with the Resurrection Pass Trail starting, or ending, in Hope. The 39-mile trail travels between Hope and Cooper Landing and offers day or multiday hiking or biking backcountry excursions.
“There is also Gull Rock Trail at the end of the paved road,” Anderson said. “It’s a five-mile hike and the trailhead is just prior to the gas station. You can do Gull Rock from there, or Hope Point, which is a zigzag trail up the mountain that leads to great views.”
From the peak of Hope Point, hikers can enjoy panoramic views of Turnagain Arm and a bird’s eye view of Anchorage. Hope also offers an array of historical entertainment, centered at the Hope and Sunrise Historical and Mining Museum, which opens its doors on Memorial Day each year.
“We have a whole shed of mining equipment. There is a main museum building, where we talk about the gold rush and the great Alaska earthquake. … We even have the old schoolhouse from 1904,” Olthuis said.
The museum shows insight into just how influential a role gold played in the creation of Hope, and in bringing settlers to Alaska.
“Just come and enjoy the natural beauty of the place,” Olthuis said. “Hope is full of great inspiration for photographs, painting or sketching. There are quiet moments, where you can listen to the birds, look out at the wildlife and be content.”