Alaska Excursions

Alaska Excursions

A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.

Iditarod 41

Photos and stories from the last great race.

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Hope springs eternal

Rafters make their way down Sixmile Creek near Hope.

Courtesy of Nova Alaska

Rafters make their way down Sixmile Creek near Hope.

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Gold mining town offers unique connection to the past.

More than 2,000 miners on the road to Sunrise gold spawned what is now the Hope/Sunrise area, and recreational gold mining is still a major attraction in Hope -- now a town of about 150 year-round residents.

The ongoing quest for Resurrection Creek gold in the late 1800s created the community of Hope, named after Percy Hope, the youngest new miner to step off a boat when all present decided that the town would be named after the next exiting passenger. At the time, there were six mines in the Hope region -- the Hirshey Mine, Bear Creek Mines, Hope Mining Company, Lucky Strike Mine, Nearhouse Mine and Paysteke Mine -- which positioned the growing community as one of the most prosperous mining towns in Alaska.

Drive 70 miles south from Anchorage and you'll see signs directing you to Hope. Drive 16 more miles down the scenic Hope Highway and enter a world offering a unique connection to Alaska's gold-mining past, which a visit to the Hope & Sunrise Historical and Mining Museum, housed in a log cabin across from the old town site, makes especially evident.

The Hope Community Library is also a place to gather local lore and history. The library is in the town's original schoolhouse, and you'll find many other cabins and structures in Hope on the National Register of Historic Places. A log building from 1902 still serves as a community gathering spot for meetings, weddings, dances and other events.

Along with recreational gold-mining activities, there's a wealth of wildlife viewing. Hope is a favorite spot for birders, who must, however, be ever-alert to the large bear population. You'll find some of the finest white-water rafting, hiking and camping in this region.

Trails to check out include Gull Rock Trail, which crosses rock slides and an avalanche gully, affording amazing views of Turnagain Arm. The trail also cuts through an old cathedral-like forest to the site of a 1920s sawmill.

Hope Point Trail is a moderate-to-difficult climb up Mount Baldy, a treeless ridge, to view mountain goats, bears and moose along the way to startling views of Hope Valley.

Resurrection Creek Trail is a 38-mile overnight hike that ends in Cooper Landing. You'll cover forested and alpine terrain with elevation gains and losses of 2,000 feet. Forest Service cabins for rent fill up fast, so make your reservations early.

Twin Lakes is an unmarked trail of steep alpine terrain next to a waterfall with glacier-fed lakes at the top, making the climb worth every bit of effort.

Wagon Trail Road is home to the 5K Wagon Trail Race held in mid-July. The entrance is across from the Discovery Cafe, and many people come to Hope to participate or just to watch.

For a step back in time and great outdoor adventures, Hope is a destination not to be missed -- and don't forget to ask about the birding, and the berry-picking seasons!

ATTRACTIONS

The best central place to learn where to go and what to do in Hope is the Hope Chamber of Commerce website, www.hopealaska.info.

Hope & Sunrise Historical and Mining Museum

Make this your first stop when you arrive. The museum has a gift shop with maps and other useful items for your trip.

WHERE: 64851 Second Ave.

WHEN: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily, Memorial Day to Labor Day

COST: Free (donations appreciated)

PHONE: 907-782-3740

WEB: www.hopealaska.info/community.html (Chamber of Commerce website)

Hope Community Library

WHERE:Second and A streets

WHEN: Daily, noon to 3 p.m. in the summer, and noon to 3 p.m. most days in the winter. Call for times; the library is staffed by volunteers.

COST: Free

PHONE: 907-782-3121

WEB: On Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Hope-AK/Hope-Community-Library/90707098378

E-MAIL: info@hopelibrary.org

Hiking Trails

For details about hiking and camping options in Hope, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website for the Kenai Peninsula at http://kenai.fws.gov.

For reservations at U.S. Forest Service campgrounds, call toll free 877-444-6777

HOPE CALENDAR OF EVENTS

For the most up-to-date events lists, visit the Hope Chamber of Commerce website, and the Hope Community Library on Facebook.

Hope Wagon Trail Festival

The kick-off to the annual Wagon Trail Run includes a pancake breakfast and cake walk before the 5K Wagon Trail Run (registration required). Find out more on their Facebook page: Search for Hope Alaska Library and click on local events on the Library's Facebook page.

WHERE: Starts downtown on Main Street

WHEN: Mid-July; check Facebook page for exact date

COST: Free (except a $25 entry fee for 5K Run, which includes a T-shirt or other giveaway)

PHONE: 907-782-3121

WEB: www.hopelibrary.org and on Facebook

E-MAIL: info@hopelibrary.org

Pancake Breakfast Socials

Throughout the seasons; check the Hope Chamber and Hope Library websites for dates and details.

WHERE: Selected venues throughout Hope

WHEN: Year-round

COST: Varies

PHONE: 907-782-3121

WEB: www.hopelibrary.org and on FaceBook, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hope-AK/Hope-Community-Library/90707098378

E-MAIL: info@hopelibrary.org

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