Hope Alaska: A Jewel in Alaska's Recreational Crown
Camping & Outdoor Recreation
Literally at the end of the road on the beautiful southern shore of Turnagain Arm lies Hope, Alaska. Founded in the late 1890's after gold was discovered on nearby Resurrection Creek, Hope is a charming window to the past and a favorite playground for Alaskans.
There are no WalMart's, no 7-11's and no Golden Arches. What they do have an abundance of, however, is natural beauty. The 17 mile Hope Highway winds through towering spruce and stands of birch and aspen giving visitors spectacular views of the Chugach Mountains and the blueish gray waters of Turnagain Arm.
Pull-outs are plentiful and believe me you'll want to stop at every one. It took us more than an hour and a half to make the drive to Hope from the Seward Highway cutoff.
Although a large portion of the nearby community of Sunrise was destroyed by the 1964 Good Friday earthquake, several buildings original to Hope City remain. Built in 1902, the Social Hall remains the heart of the community. The first day we arrived a town potluck was in full swing with locals and visitors alike joining in the festivities. The original 1938 school house is now the town museum and should be one of your first stops.
Where to stay
No hotels means you're probably staying in an RV or tent. A small campground (parking lot) can be found at the end of Main Street. For those looking for full hookups this is your only option. If you're in a tent or don't need hookups, Porcupine State Campground can be found a mile past Hope proper. While Porcupine is a primitive campground (i.e. no hookups) it is a breathtaking slice of paradise. Sites 1 through 11 offer unobstructed views of Turnagain Arm. Porcupine is even big rig friendly with most spaces able to accommodate up to a 40' coach and several allowing room for a 45' coach plus your toad. Site #2 is our favorite (140' pull through with amazing views) Advance reservations are highly recommended as it fills up fast in the summer.
What to see and do
Fishing: The Hope Pink Salmon Derby runs from mid July to Mid August. Sixmile and Resurrection creeks are both great spots for trying your hand at landing pink, silver and chum salmon.
Hiking/Mountain Biking: Gull Rock and Hope Point trails both begin at Porcupine Campground. Gull Rock is a relatively easy 5 mile trail that follows Turnagain Arm. Hope Point, at 2.5 miles, is a serious workout. It's been said you'll need to be part mountain goat to make it to the top of Mt. Hope (3,900') and I wholeheartedly agree with that. For those looking for a multiple day hike, Resurrection Creek Trail is a 38 mile hike through forested hills and alpine meadows over the mountain to Cooper Landing on the Sterling Highway.
Whitewater Rafting: Billed as one of the best whitewater rafting trips in the North America, NOVA River Runners offers 3 hour Class IV and a 4.5 hour Class V rafting trips. There are three steep canyons with narrow routes, steep drops, beautiful pools, and hang-onto-your-shorts rapids all in a gorgeous semi-rain forest. Operating under a permit from the US Forest Service, NOVA has been running these rapids for more than 25 years.
Gold Mining: It put Hope on the map, and as they say, there's gold in them thar hills. Records indicate that between the late 1880's and 1906 more than $1,000,000 in gold was mined from the area. Bring your gold pans or suction dredges (up to 4" with a permit from AK Fish & Game) and try your hand at mining.
Wildlife Viewing: In the few days we were there this year, we saw a handful of moose, several black bears, fox, ptarmigan and loads of ground squirrels. Just a reminder: Moose look slow and dumb, but they are agile and can run faster than you can. Porcupine Campground has been home to several black bears who are not the least bit afraid of you. Please use caution.
Photography: Granted, I consider all of Alaska a photographers paradise but it's hard to take a bad picture here (and yet thanks to a sensor that needed cleaning I managed to do just that).
Hope Alaska in Photo's
Downtown Hope, Alaska
Views of Turnagain Arm from Porcupine Campground
Discovery Cafe & Turnagain Arm @ Low Tide
The next time you're looking for a gorgeous area to explore or just somwhere peaceful to rejuvenate mind, body and soul, consider a trip to Hope, Alaska. It's certainly on our 'favorite places' list.