Area: 48 square miles land, 16 square miles water
Hope is a scenic 88 mile drive from Anchorage. Gold rush buildings still charm downtown Hope, the white and green store has been serving customers since 1896. The log Social Hall, built in 1902, still hosts community meetings, dances, and weddings and the 1938 red schoolhouse now serves Hope as a library. You can dip a gold pan into Resurrection Creek and glean gold from the black sand or cast a fishing line for salmon. Bring a camera. The Chugach Mountains and Turnagain Arm tidal flats boast eagles, moose, mountain goats, and berries. Enjoy camping at Porcupine or Cour D’Alene Campgrounds. The 4.5 mile Gull Rock Trail hugs the cliffs along Turnagain Arm. Traverse 38.6 miles over Resurrection Pass Trail to Cooper Landing.
The Hope Museum will gladly inform you of the local landmarks. Hope boomed in the past and welcomes you today.
Hope Chamber of Commerce, Box 89, Hope, AK 99605.
Hope was one of Alaska’s first gold rush towns. In 1889, before gold was found in Dawson or Nome, a man named King discovered gold in Resurrection Creek. More prospectors rushed to stake claims. On a lark, the community of tents and cabins that grew at the mouth of the creek chose to name themselves after the youngest rusher to step off the next boat. His name was Percy Hope. Miners discovered gold nearby in Sixmile Creek and a new tent community was christened Sunrise City. Hope City, Sunrise City, and the surrounding area swelled to 3,000 people long before Anchorage existed. Gold was plentiful. Robert Mathison panned 385 ounces in less than 2 months. However, the boom faded as quickly as it started. The population dropped to a mere 23. Hope claims close to 200 today.
Hope, population about 200, has lodging, cafes and stores with groceries and sundries. Gas and other supplies are also available. Hope Chamber of Commerce welcomes all. For information call 782-3601.
The first claim on Resurrection Creek about two miles above today's townsite was recorded in 1888. By 1895, Hope consisted of about a dozen cabins occupies by miners seeking pay dirt. One particular company brought in equipment and at summer's end, its claims had yielded $40,000, a near fortune in those days. News of this and other strikes spread and eager gold seekers inundated the district next spring.
Nearby Sunrise grew simultaneously. Some estimate that up to 3,000 men and a few women came to the combined areas that summer in 1896. The population decreased dramatically in the winter, then peaked again in the spring. Many were disappointed, however, and left for good.
Mining continued in earnest until the 1940s. Today, small scale mining and logging are the community's only industries.
The 1964 earthquake caused a 7 foot subsidence and what was once part of the original town in now tidal flats. Alaska Commercial had stories in both Hope and Sunrise. The one at Hope, constructed about 1896-7, houses the present Hope store which now stands at water's edge at high tide. Nothing remains at Sunrise.
There is a village council and a Hope-Sunrise Historical Society.
The United Methodists maintain a 1944 log church parsonage that is used mostly as a retreat.
What to see and do
Fish for pink salmon July through August. Cod catches are possible at the mouth o Resurrection Creek on incoming tides. Dally Varden are also present.
Gold panning, hiking, mountain biking, and photography are popular pursuits. Several trails start nearby. Walk around town to see old buildings and luxurious gardens. The showy red Sitka rose and stately delphinium do especially well in Hope's hospitable climate and good soil.
Moose, caribou and black bear hunting is available. Check the department of fish and game for regulations.
Wagon Trail Run Weekend - 5K Run, Dance, and Cakewalk A yearly event on the third weekend of July. Saturday night is a cakewalk and dance with live music (free!) in the old log Social Hall. Sunday morning at 11AM is the 5K Wagon Trail Run (pre-registration advised), starting in front of the Social Hall on Main Street and heading up the old wagon road and back by trail. It's always a great weekend!
Hope Pink Salmon Derby - July 15 - Aug 15 Enjoy the beautiful scenery while you fish in our unique pink salmon derby. There is no entry fee and first prize is one troy ounce of gold, with twelve prizes in all, presented by BJW Mining & Gifts and Hope Fishing Charters. It's the perfect place to take your family. At the mouth of the river you are close to food, lodging, gift shops and our mining museum. At the southern boundary of the Derby, you are in the recreational gold mining area, where you can pan, sluice or metal detect for free. Please remember that you must register at BJW Mining & Gifts. For more information, please call (907) 782-3268.
Hope is a gold rush town on the north side of the Kenai Peninsula, on the south shore of the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet, just 88 miles from Anchorage, and 77 miles from Soldotna. Long before Anchorage existed as a community, Hope and the surrounding area were jam packed with some 3,000 gold miners, in a rollicking past dating back to 1896.
The miners are still here, as well as many of the buildings of gold rush vintage. Owners of one mine offer visitors a chance to live and mine on a historical placer mine built in 1930s style. Others come to camp, backpack and enjoy other recreation in all seasons.