Home » 2006 Alaska RV Road Trip

Hope, AK

Friday, July 28, 2006 - 10:00am by Lolo
53 miles and 1.5 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Navigating our way around Alaska by RV had a certain simple elegance to it. You just drove and drove until the road ended and hit the sea. Then you turned around and did it all over again down a different road. Hope was another one of Alaska's many end of the road treasures.

Andrew holding Lolo's first HumpyAndrew holding Lolo's first HumpyIt was our last night in Alaska. We had selected Hope as our final destination because it sounded like a really cute town (obviously I was doing the itinerary and not Herb - Herb rarely chooses places for their cuteness), and it would put us in good striking distance to Anchorage where we had to return our rental RV the next morning.

So, after leaving the Russian River, we turned off the Seward Highway and drove down the 17-mile Hope Highway to its end, in the quaint, historic village of Hope, on the southern shores of the Turnagain Arm. I was right. It was cute. However, Herb and Hans thought that the fact that fishermen were lining the banks of the Resurrection Creek that flowed through town was even cuter. We didn't even know there would be any fishing here. However, after our experience at the Russian River, we didn't necessarily associate lots of fishermen with lots of fish being caught, so we checked into our campground first and hung around awhile before heading back into the village to fish.

I had made reservations ahead of time at the National Forest Service Porcupine Campground, a really lovely campground on a bluff overlooking the Turnagain Arm, just past the end of town. A few of the sites are located right on the bluff with really spectacular views. Unfortunately, those were already booked by the time I made our reservations, so we had to settle for sites back in the woods, where the gnats liked to hang out.

Herb in Russian River since Lolo didn't get any Hope PhotosHerb in Russian River since Lolo didn't get any Hope PhotosRather than deal with the gnats, we drove back down the hill into the village to explore. Herb and Han's idea of exploration was checking out the fishing action. To their amazement, this time there actually was fishing action, and lots of it. The Creek was chock full of pink salmon making their way up the Creek. My quaint little historical tour of the village had turned, once again, into a fishing trip.

Oh well. While Herb, Hans, and the boys fished, Michelle, Alexis and I went off to explore. It didn't exactly take very long since "Downtown" Hope is just a cluster of old buildings along Main Street, but this was the kind of place I really love exploring. Since Hope had been an old gold rush community in the late 1800s, much of its history centers around prospecting. There is a Historical and Mining Museum, but unfortunately we got to it just as it was closing. However, we did find a nice gift shop with a very friendly owner, who spoke to us about what it is like to live in such a small, remote community. Like so many other native Alaskans I had met this trip, she seemed so genuinely happy with her life here.

Hans and Jonathan on Russian RiverHans and Jonathan on Russian RiverWe made our way back to the river where we found the men thick in the frenzy of the salmon run they had been hoping for. It was not a totally pretty picture. Andrew and Tommy had their lines completely tangled together, made even worse by the fact that one of them had a fish on the end of their line. Needless to say, they were beginning to get a bit cranky with each other. When I hollered to Herb about what was going on, he merely pointed to his own bent over rod, as if that was explanation enough for his refusal to untangle his sons. Eventually Tom fell in the river with Andrew' line, complete with fish, wrapped around him. Meanwhile, Herb kept yelling for me to get the camera so I could take a picture of him and his stupid fish. Strange things happen to men in a salmon run. When I returned with the camera, Herb kept telling me to get closer so I could get a better shot. I immediately sunk down about 5 inches into river muck completely submerging my new white sneakers. Now I was getting cranky. Andrew, who had managed to untangle himself from Tommy, came over to relieve me of my camera duties. I, and my muck-encrusted feet, returned to the RV to change my shoes. When I returned to the river, making sure to stop just short of the muck. I got a chance to see Herb's really large humpback pink salmon just before he released it back into the river. This was our last night in Alaska, so there was no sense keeping fish than we weren't going to eat. Herb, Hans, and the boys caught so many fish that afternoon, that their arms ached for days afterward.

Hope was a really fitting closure for our trip to Alaska. It would have been a shame to come so far and not experience the excitement of an Alaskan salmon run.


Michelle and Alexis in HopeMichelle and Alexis in HopeThe 17-mile Hope Highway leads northwest from Milepost 56.7 on the Seward Highway along Sixmile Creek to the quaint, remote village of Hope at the mouth of Resurrection Creek on the southern shores of the Turnagain Arm. This small village (population 130) was once a thriving gold rush community back in 1896, but its hey-day was short-lived. By 1899, most of the miners left to try their luck in the Klondike. Hope is still the best preserved gold rush community in south-central Alaska, but it has primarily become a place where fishermen and tourists come.

"Downtown" Hope consists of a few old building, some of which date back to its days as a gold rush community, such as the 1896 Seaview Café and the 1902 log Social Hall, which still hosts community events. Right past the post office is the historic Hope Gold Rush B&B, built by gold prospector John Hirshey in 1916. There is also a gift shop, library, and the Historical and Mining Museum.

Right past the village, the Resurrection Creek flows into Turnagain Arm. During the summer salmon runs, fishermen line the shores of the Creek catching the pinks as they make their way in from Turnagain Arm.

There are several camping opportunities in Hope. The Seaview Café has 21 sites (some with electric) right next to the mouth of Resurrection Creek. The U.S. Forest Service Porcupine Campground is up a hill past the creek. There are 24 sites, a few with wonderful views of Turnagain Arm. Two hiking trails, the Gull Rock Trail and the Hope Point Trail, start at the campground.

Hope location map in "high definition"

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