Hope is a historic gold mining town that seems quiet but is packed with adventurous things to do.
Located 87 miles south of Anchorage (less than a 2-hour drive), Hope is a popular summer destination for a camping getaway. It’s a small and quirky town with friendly locals and a lot of fun to be had.
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, I’m going to share the best things to do in Hope, Alaska.
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Top 10 Things To Do In Hope, Alaska
1. Hike Resurrection Pass
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, read 5 Best Hikes in Hope, Alaska.
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.
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.
Read more: Practice Leave No Trace in Alaska
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.
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 at Seaview Cafe
One of the favorite things to do in Hope is dance the night away to live music from Seaview Cafe. During the summer, Seaview Cafe has 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.
7. Walk Around Town
Hope is a small town and community and a walking tour is definitely 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, 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 bikepacking 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.
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!
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Do you have any questions on things to do in Hope, Alaska? Let me know in the comments.