Most travelers to Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula take the train from Seward to Anchorage. More intrepid explorers might book a car rental, winding along the Seward Highway past jagged rocky cliffs, sweeping tidal flats and over mountain passes between these two destinations.
The Seward Highway offers very few options to turn off along the 125-mile drive. One worth making is onto Hope Road, just shy of the halfway mark. A 16-mile drive between close-pressing trees will deposit you in the small fishing community of Hope, Alaska. This collection of buildings, most of which are residential, is home to only 200 year-round residents; in the summer months, this number swells as fishermen and tourists establish Hope as their base for pink salmon fishing in nearby Resurrection Creek. Salmon runs peak in Hope between late July and September each summer.
Hope offers visitors easy access to a healthy salmon run, and a sense of how rustic and rural most of life in Alaska can be. Even the short 70-mile drive from Anchorage puts you a world away in Hope. In addition to salmon fishing, other popular activities include gold panning and white-water rafting. NOVA Alaska Guides (novalaska.com) is a rafting operator that takes visitors to nearby Six-Mile Creek to experience the thrill of Class IV and V rapids.
As a small town, amenities are somewhat limited, but a stop at Seaview Bar & Cafe is requisite. Locals and visitors alike fill seats around the plastic tablecloth-covered tables to enjoy home-style dining and fresh-made fruit pie. The adjoining bar is a perfect place to hearfish tales from the fishermen who’ve been visiting hope for years.
Overnighters claim a campsite at one of the campgrounds in and around Hope, or book one of the town’s vacation rentals through services like Airbnb. Plan your visit to Hope at alaska.org/destination/hope.