Guide to Hope, Alaska: 10 Best Things To Do

Hope is a historic gold mining town in Alaska that seems quiet but is packed with tons of things to do.

Located 87 miles south of Anchorage, Hope is a popular destination during summer weekends. It’s a small town with friendly locals and a lot of fun to be had.

I love visiting Hope because it’s so close to Anchorage. It’s the perfect place to visit when I want to get out of the city for the day or the weekend.

Whether you’re looking for a backcountry trail to explore or want to dance the night away to live music with panoramic views of Turnagain Arm as a backdrop, Hope is a great place to visit.

In this post, I’m going to share the best things to do in Hope, Alaska. You’ll also find out how to get to Hope, where to eat in Hope, and where to stay in the Hope area!

Planning a trip to Alaska? Start with my Alaska Travel Guide.

How to Get to Hope

As I’ve mentioned, Hope is only 87 miles south of Anchorage. It’s located on the Kenai Peninsula and getting here is pretty easy. From Anchorage, you will drive along the Seward Highway until you reach the turnoff for the Hope Highway. Instead of continuing south, you will exit onto the Hope Highway to take a 17-mile detour to reach the historic town of Hope. It usually takes about two hours to reach Hope, but it can take longer during the busy summer season.

Best Things To Do In Hope

If you’re planning to visit Hope, here are some of my favorite things to do in this small Alaskan town.

1. Hike Resurrection Pass

One of my favorite outdoor activities in Hope is hiking. Resurrection Pass Trail is a classic backpacking trail in Southcentral Alaska. The trail is 39 miles long and will take you through the Kenai Mountains from Hope to Cooper Landing. Plan at least three days to hike the entire trail. There are plenty of backcountry campsites or public use cabins to stay in. If you don’t have time for a multi-day hike, try Gull Rock Trail or Hope Point Trail.

Read: 5 Best Hikes in Hope, Alaska.

Best Hikes in Hope Alaska Resurrection Pass Trail North

2. Whitewater Raft Six Mile Creek

If you are an adrenaline junkie like me then you don’t want to skip the whitewater rafting in Hope. Six Mile Creek is the best place to whitewater raft near Anchorage. You get to paddle through exciting Class V rapids, which is the highest difficulty in a guided whitewater trip. Get ready for some worthy paddle-five’s after you pass crazy rapids known as “Suckhole” and “Jaws.” Prices start at $120 per person.

Whitewater Rafting Six Mile Creek Hope Alaska Summer Guided Tour
Whitewater Raft Six Mile Creek Alaska Top Things to Do in Hope

3. Fish in Resurrection Creek

Grab your fishing pole and head to Resurrection Creek to catch some salmon! Resurrection Creek is located right in downtown Hope and it’s best for pink salmon fishing once the run begins in late July or early August. Salmon also brings other wildlife viewing opportunities as bald eagles and black bears are regularly seen snacking on salmon.

4. Try Your Luck Gold Panning

Back in the late 1800s gold was discovered on Resurrection Creek in Hope. Today, it’s still a popular site for recreational gold panning in Alaska. Starting at the Resurrection Pass Trail footbridge, there is a half-mile stretch where you can pan for gold in the active stream and try your luck at finding a small fortune. If you’re not interested in doing it on your own and want an authentic, individual experience, check out Gold Rush Peck. At Gold Rush Peck you can purchase a bucket to pan for gold to go home with.

Resurrection Pass Trail Footbridge

5. Hope and Sunrise Historical and Mining Museum

Hope and Sunrise Historical and Mining Museum opened it 1994 but it will take you all the way back to the late 1800s during the Turnagain Arm Goldrush. You can learn about the development of Hope, view artifacts and photographs, or watch short films in the Quonset Hut Theater. The museum is only open during the summer. Admission is free but donations are welcome.

6. Dance to Live Music

One of the favorite things to do in Hope is dance the night away to live music from The Historical Hope Cafe. During the summer, you can enjoy live music from Alaska’s favorite local artists and bands playing on the deck. Music kicks off every Thursday and continues throughout the weekend. It’s a lot of fun to spend the evening here and it’s even better if you’re camping nearby.

Another fun place to listen to live music in Hope is at Creekbend Cafe. Events here are usually ticketed, but some amazing artists have performed here!

best things to do in hope live music

7. Walk Around Town

Hope is a small town and community and planning a self-guided Historic walking tour is the best way to see it. You can park in downtown Hope and walk to the coffee shop and restaurants, Hope and Sunrise Historical and Mining Museum, Hope Community Library, Hope Social Hall, Resurrection Creek, or check out the views of Turnagain Arm.

8. Mountain Biking Trails

Hope has a lot of fun mountain biking trails. Resurrection Pass is a great option for mountain biking, especially if you want to plan an overnight bike packing trip. You can also bike to Gull Rock, which is fun but can be challenging. The ride is a gradual 5-mile climb to Gull Rock and there are a few hike-a-bike sections, but the way back is so much fun! It feels like a long downhill and it’s awesome. Plus, you can see beluga whales in this area. Palmer Creek Road is another great option for mountain biking in Hope.

Mountain Biking Gull Rock Trail Hope Alaska
Andrea Kuuipo Abroad Biking Alaska

9. Hope Community Library Gift Shop

If you’re looking for handmade, unique gifts then stop and take a look around Hope Community Library Gift Shop. You’ll be able to find a mix of books, jewelry, and more from Alaskan artists and authors.

10. Camp Along Turnagain Arm

There are some hidden areas along the Hope Highway where you can pitch your tent for the night. Some of these camping spots offer incredible views of Turnagain Arm. I love camping away from downtown Hope and having your own space to enjoy nature. These spots tend to fill up early on the weekends and in order to find them, you’ll have to try your luck exploring the lone, dirt roads. Now, that’s an adventure!

Camping Turnagain Arm

Where to Eat in Hope

Even though Hope is a really small town, there are plenty of restaurants to try. Here are some of the best places in Hope to eat.

  • Food on Second – Really good sandwiches.
  • The Historic Hope Cafe (previously known as Seaview Cafe & Bar) – Try their halibut and chips then jam out to music from the deck.
  • Creekbend Cafe – Breakfast made for hangovers. Beer. Indoor and outdoor seating.
  • Grounds For Hope Espresso – This is the only coffee shop in Hope and it will satisfy your coffee needs. I love their breakfast burrito here, but get ’em early because they sell out.
  • Salt of Hope Food Company – This food truck on Main Street has some awesome tacos and Bahn Mi sandwiches.
  • Dirty Skillet – Hearty, heaping, home-cooked foods. I loved their burger!
  • Bowman’s Bear Creek Lodge & Cafe – The place to go for fine dining in Hope.
where to eat in hope dirty skillet

Where to Stay in Hope

There are plenty of accommodation options in Hope, but I think camping is the best way to experience this small town. Here are some of the places you can stay in Hope, including campsites, cabins, lodges, and B&Bs.

camping in hope alaska

Do you have any questions on things to do in Hope, Alaska? Let me know in the comments.

Pin For Later

Top 10 Things to do in Hope Alaska. Go rafting, gold panning, mountain biking, hike Ressurection Pass. There are so many things to do in Hope during summer in Alaska.

About Andrea Kuuipo

I was born and raised in Anchorage and have been able to travel to many places around Alaska. As an Alaska Travel Blogger, I love sharing my favorite things to see and do in my home state to help others plan an incredible trip!

2 thoughts on “Guide to Hope, Alaska: 10 Best Things To Do”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.