Hope Alaska At Road's End
If you are planning a summer RV adventure or even just a day trip, you may want to put Hope, Alaska on your bucket list.
Hope is a quiet community perched near the shore of Turnagain Arm, over 15 miles down a scenic two-lane road that leads absolutely no place else. Many drive right by the Hope Turnoff on their way to better known tourist towns like Seward or Homer. So, is that 30-mile round trip from the Seward Highway worth the drive? YOU BET!
The road to Hope passes through lush forests and fast-flowing, glacial-fed rivers, and then breaks open to breathtaking views high above Turnagain Arm. Across the inlet, the Chugach Mountains rise sharply, remaining snow-topped well into June. The Seward Highway and Alaska Railroad twine like tiny pencil marks along the base of the mountains in what seems from this distance to be a thin ledge between the towering mountains and the water of the inlet.
There is admittedly not a lot to see in Hope itself if you are looking for excitement, fancy restaurants or hotels. Hope started life as a busy gold-rush town way back in 1896, when gold was discovered in Resurrection Creek and nearby 6-Mile Creek, but most of the 3,000 or more miners moved on to the Klondike gold fields within a few years, leaving Hope behind. What remained was a small community of self-sufficient families who wanted to live off the beaten path and it stayed that way for a long time. To a large extent, it remains so today, at least for much of the year.
During the summer, though, Hope is a camping and hiking destination for those who seek out its quiet solitude. Still small, still down a long, winding road - the wilderness and waterways surrounding Hope exude a quiet peacefulness that many find enchanting.
If overnight plans for your trip include camping at the Porcupine USFS Campground at mile 17.8 of the Hope Highway, you’ll have to go beyond the aforementioned “end of the road”. The campground, which has 34 spacious campsites appropriate for RV or tent camping, with picnic tables and fire pits, starts at the end of the actual road and makes a large loop, ending up back at the beginning – or the end (of the road), depending on how you look at it. Porcupine Campground doesn’t offer any RV hook-ups but does have a couple restrooms and fresh-water hand-pumps situated throughout the campground.
There is more to do in and around Hope than initially meets the eye. For example; there is a 1.5-mile access area along Resurrection Creek open to the public for gold-panning. This section of the creek was part of the original gold rush. There are even still a few active claims being worked in the area.
Discover more about the gold rush days by visiting the Hope and Sunrise Historical and Mining Museum in town. Along with the museum itself, you’ll find a barn, smithy, and miner's bunkhouse on museum grounds, all with authentic artifacts from an earlier era. Other historic buildings in town have been carefully preserved, repurposed into local shops. The original 1896 general store is now a popular café and bar.
Want more action? Six-Mile Creek offers some of the most exciting Class IV and Class V whitewater rafting in all of Alaska.
The area also boasts great hiking and biking trails. These trails range from easy to strenuous and can even include overnight camping trips.
The entrance of the Porcupine Campground is where you'll find the popular Gull Rock trail head. This is a relatively mild five-mile hike (one-way), offering scenic views along Turnagain Arm. The trail ends at Gull Rock where you can stay and camp overnight if you come prepared. There are no facilities, so pack in and pack out everything you need.
Whatever your reason for visiting Hope, Alaska, you will surely find something memorable … at the end of the road.
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