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Things To Do In Hope Alaska

Drive Around Denali Until You Cant Go Any Further

Fun things to do in Alaska!

The majestic Denali National Park and Preserve is often the peak of every visitors trip to Alaska .

The park spreads across six million acres of lakes, towering peaks, and tundra. And of course, you cant miss Mount Denali itself, the tallest peak in North America!

Back to driving in the park: with only one road winding around the area, chances of getting lost are pretty slim.

However, with a private vehicle, you can only drive up to mile 15 between mid-May and September.

But, thats far enough to enjoy lush vegetation, majestic ridges, and wildlife spotting.

We captured the image above in early September, so if you visit in that time frame, youll even get to see the start of Alaskas fall colors!

Dance To Live Music At Seaview Cafe

One of the favorite things to do in Hope is dance the night away to live music from Seaview Cafe. During the summer, Seaview Cafe has live music from Alaskas favorite local artists and bands playing on the deck. Music kicks off every Thursday and continues throughout the weekend. Its a lot of fun to spend the evening here and its even better if youre camping nearby.

Visit Alaskas Best Escape Room

Alaska Escape Rooms is a family-owned escape room that relies on local talent to bring you a one-of-a-kind experience. Alaska Escape Rooms has hired an assortment of local inventors, actors, artists, and writers to help create living stories for an immersive and interactive experience for guests. If you love escape rooms, this experience is a great one to brag about, and if you havent tried an escape room then this is a great place to start.

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Indian Valley Mine National Historic Site

Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 54 reviews

The main cabin, which contains the gift shop, and the assay building at Indian Valley Mine has some of the oldest structures built on the Turnagain Arm, and are listed as a National Historic Site. Indian Valley Mine offers visitors the opportunity to learn gold panning and browse through two historic cabins built in the early 1900’s a small museum and gift shop, or simply sit back on one of our benches and take in the panoramic view of the Turnagain Arm.

Reviewed By Jo B – Greater Sydney, Australia

For the $1 entry fee, you can’t beat the half hour guided tour of the original settlers cabin and his workshop. The gift shop is quaint and well priced. Definitely take the time to do a bit of gold panning. It’s fun and very informative. The guide takes the time to show you through the whole experience.

Hike To Worthington Glacier

Travel Alaska

Worthington Glacier is located near Valdez. You can get some great views of the glacier from the highway, like this shot I got from the road.

But if you want to get up close and personal with the Worthington Glacier, you can do that too!

Youll pull into the Worthington Glacier State Recreational Site where youll follow the path to the observation area.

From there, youll see a hiking path that leads all the way up to the glacier.

It took us about 30 minutes to walk to the glacier, and most of the walk there is uphill.

As long as the water level is low, you can walk all the way up to the glacier, there are no boundaries in place!

Check out this list of the 17 best glaciers to visit in Alaska if you want to see more glaciers!

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Hike Arctic Valley For Mountain Views

Arctic Valley is one of my favorite spots for views in Anchorage. Very few tourists visit, making it a bit of a local secret. Pack your tennis shoes for a medium hike with views overlooking the Anchorage bowl, and on a clear day, you can even spot Denali. This is also a great spot in winter for Northern Lights viewing and tubing. In the autumn you can go berry picking.

Take In The Views At Long Lake

Situated along the Glenn Highway, Long Lake is one of the best places to enjoy a remote alpine environment.

We pulled off to take in the views and enjoy a snack beside the gorgeous lake. The gorgeous mirror lake effect happens towards the beginning and end of the day.

I think youll find that this is one of the most peaceful free things to do in Alaska!

You can also go fishing or camping for free here, too!

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Visit Kenais Charming Orthodox Church

Established in 1896, this quaint Russian Orthodox parish church is a very interesting place to visit in Old Town Kenai.

This well-preserved piece of history gives you a glimpse into the beliefs of Alaskas early settlers.

Though you only get to see the outside of the church, there is also a gift shop where you can buy some souvenirs if you do want to spend some money!

Fun Things To See And Do Along The Kenai Peninsula

NEEDING HOPE | Somers In Alaska

The Seaview cafe in Hope on July 6, 2012.

Editors note: This story was written before the COVID-19 pandemic, and some information might be out of date. With the situation continually evolving, we strongly encourage you to check ahead to determine the status of any business, park or activity you are interested in. To find the most up-to-date information about current health and travel mandates, check with the state of Alaska online and adn.com.

Big fish, gorgeous vistas, small-town charm: Theres adventure aplenty on the Kenai Peninsula.

Accessible wilderness, heaps of trails and enough trophy fish to spawn it was THIS big stories for years to come, its easy to see why the Kenai Peninsula is often referred to as Alaskas playground. While there are oodles of worthwhile spots to visit, here are just a few to get you started.

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Top 10 Things To Do In Hope Alaska

Hope is a historic gold mining town that seems quiet but is packed with adventurous things to do.

Located 87 miles south of Anchorage , Hope is a popular summer destination for a camping getaway. Its a small and quirky town with friendly locals and a lot of fun to be had.

Whether youre looking for a backcountry trail to explore or want to dance the night away to live music with panoramic views of Turnagain Arm as a backdrop, Im going to share the best things to do in Hope, Alaska.

Planning a trip to Alaska? Start with myAlaska Travel Guide.

Stay At The Historic Anchorage Hotel

With roots dating back to 1936, the Historic Anchorage Hotel is an old-fashioned but charming option for downtown accommodation in Anchorage. The location of the building was once the central hub and one of the few places you could get a sit-down meal in Anchorages early days as a city. The hotel itself is said to be haunted, but that adds to the charm.

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Appreciate 1% For Art

Anchorage spends 1% of its annual budget on art which is quite a lot, so keep an eye out for city-funded art around the city. One of the things that stand out the most is the colorful bears around the town, each painted by a different artist. One can is located in front of the Anchorage Visitor Center, and another wearing fishing boots at the end of 6th and Lst. Some of this art is outside the Anchorage museum, including some funky animals and a controversial human made out of blocks, and the Nesbett Courthouses have some Native totem poles out front.

Try Your Luck Gold Panning

Things to Do in Homer Alaska

Back in the late 1800s gold was discovered on Resurrection Creek in Hope. Today, its still a popular site for recreational gold panning in Alaska. Starting at the Resurrection Pass Trail footbridge, there is a half-mile stretch where you can pan for gold in the active stream and try your luck at finding a small fortune. If youre not interested in doing it on your own and want an authentic, individual experience, check out Gold Rush Peck. At Gold Rush Peck you can purchase a bucket to pan for gold to go home with.

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Visit Wolf Song Of Alaska

Located in Eagle River, Wolf Song is a non-profit group working to raise awareness about Alaskan wolves and their conservation. They have a small museum and education center where you can learn about one of Alaskas most magnificent apex predators and how vital they are to our state.

Please note: Wolf Song is undergoing renovations at this time and hopes to be open later in the year with a brand new center for you to explore. In the meantime, check out their website to learn more.

Check Out The Street Art

Anchorage has a lot of fun street art. You really cant miss the colorful murals spread across 4th and 5th Avenue. The alleyways between B & F are known locally as Ziggys alley as one artist covers the walls with images of Alaska, but he is a white dude If you are looking for a beautiful Native painted mural, then head over to the Covenant House on 8th and Barrow for beautifully created by Apayuq. The Greetings from Alaska mural is located on 5th and Fairbanks.

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See Icebergs At Valdez Glacier Lake

This is one of my favorite free things to do in Alaska!

Although unfortunately, the glacier itself has receded quite a bit, you can still enjoy the serenity and beauty that Valdez Glacier Lake offers.

Depending on when you visit, theres a chance youll see icebergs on the lake, particularly at the end of summer.

And bonus: somehow this magical lake rarely has crowds!

If you want to go kayaking, you can actually kayak right up to the glacier for some surreal views.

You Made It From Anchorage To Seward

Travel Tips: Skagway Alaska

This beautiful drive from Anchorage to Seward is a must for your Alaska itinerary. There are some fun things to do in Sewardthat you will need to check out once you arrive.

Sometimes it is nice to enjoy the journey and the Seward Highway is the perfect scenic drive to do just that. One thing that we loved was during the summer it was light all day and night!

We were able to enjoy the drive both from Anchorage to Seward and then when we returned from Seward to Anchorage. It was amazing!

I hope you have a blast on your Anchorage to Seward road trip!

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Get The Best Cityscape Views

For the best views of Anchorage, head to the Downtown Anchorage Viewpoint and Pt. Woronzoff at the end of Northern Lights Blvd. Along both of these viewpoints, youll see postcard-perfect images of the Anchorage skyline, the inlet, the Chugach Mountains, Denali, and Mt. Susitna.

Local Tip: At Pt. Woronzoff you can see airplanes taking off and landing as they fly right over your head and out into the inlet, making it a wonderful spot for photographs and airplane lovers.

A Little Of Hope’s History

The first gold rush in Alaska happened here – before the Klondike Stampede or the gold rush on the beaches of Nome – the first gold rush in Alaska happened here in Hope.


Hope enjoyed its heyday long before Anchorage was founded. When the discovery of gold in Six Mile Creek in 1895 reached Seattle, it set off one of Alaska’s first gold rushes. Within a year, more than 3,000 stampeders were headed for this slice of the Kenai Peninsula. Miners arrived in the area by boat, many rowing themselves up Cook Inlet’s Turnagain Arm in dories.


A few of these men decided to name their little town after the next person off the boat. The next person was a 17-year old prospector named Percy Hope. The community was soon a thriving commercial center with stores, hotels, social halls, community councils, post offices and saloons. Hope’s heyday was short-lived. By 1898, news of the famous Klondike Gold Rush in Canada’s Yukon had spread, and most miners in Hope packed up for the Klondike. Many of the original buildings are still in use in Hope, including the Social Hall which was built in 1902, and the original schoolhouse which is now the library.


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Learn About Alaska With Hands

The Discovery Center, attached to the Anchorage Museum, explores Alaska through tactile science, technology, and visual displays. Learn about the geology, aurora, volcanoes, earthquakes, and biodiversity of Arctic and Alaskan ecosystems. This is fun for the whole family and a great place to bring kids, but it is also great for adults.

Hikes And Recreation Areas Near Turnagain Arm

Top 10 Things To Do In Hope Alaska

Mile Marker: 109

Windy Corner is a quick stop to see the Dall sheep. They tend to congregate in this area.

Mile Marker: 111

McHugh Creek Reservation Area is a pull off that has a 20 foot waterfall to check out. There is a parking fee of $5. If you are up for a hike there is a 6.4 mile trail located here.

Mile Marker: 115

Potter Trailhead is a 9 mile beautiful trail run or hike.

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See Bridal Veil Falls

Continuing on a waterfall kick, heres another great waterfall in Alaska!

Bridal Veil Falls a dramatic waterfall in Alaskas landscape, located 13 miles from Valdez along the Richardson Highway.

Cascading hundreds of feet into the Lowe River, this waterfall is a perfect stop regardless of the season.

If youre not boating down the Lowe River, your best bet to come close to the waterfall is by car or hike.

You can either park on the shoulder and view the falls from across the river, or see them via hike on the Keystone Canyon Pack Trail.

Explore The Matanuska River

Nestled between the Chugach and Talkeetna Mountains, the Matanuska River is a glacial river that streams from an enormous ice sheet: the Matanuska glacier.

The setting and the surrounding views are breathtaking and free!

Of course, there are plenty of other fun activities here that warrant a visit. You can try out fishing, walking trails along the river, or even white water rafting .

If you do have spare money to spend, the nearby Matanuska Glacier is an experience that is worth paying for! We got the coolest glacier photos there, and it was unreal walking on such a magical glacier! Learn more about it here!

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Attend Alaskas State Fair

If you are in the Anchorage area in the autumn around August/September, check our annual state fair dates. It is about an hour and a half drive away in an adorable town called Palmer. Visiting the fair is a great way to learn about Alaskas farming culture and to enjoy rides, food, music, and local products.

Hike Around Thompson Pass

Alaska Road Trip – So many Things to Do on Our Alaska Vacation on the Kenai Peninsula

With an average of 500 inches of snowfall every year, Thompson Pass is undoubtedly one of the snowiest locations in Alaska!

And this is one of the reasons why its dubbed a heli-ski paradise.

However, the lesser-known fact is that Thompson Pass is a perfect free destination year-round.

In summer, you can go on some hikes with incredible views and much milder weather conditions.

We hiked in early September and there still wasnt any snow on the ground.

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Learn About Anchorage From An Alaskan Native

One of the most important things to remember when visiting Anchorage is that you are on Native land. Please always support a Native-owned business, purchase only authentic Native art , or learn about the city from its original inhabitants perspective when you can.

A post shared by Alaska Native Heritage Center on Apr 9, 2019 at 12:05pm PDT

If you are looking to do a walking tour of Anchorage, book with AK Finest. You will be guided by a Native who sits on a Tribal Council, learning about Native culture and history and how it relates to the Anchorage area all while seeing the highlights of the city. Youll even be invited in to see one of Alaskas finest Native art collections at the Alaska Native Hospital.

And if you are looking for a tour operator to help you plan an authentic Alaskan experience, then book with a Native-owned Downtown Tour Group. As a life-long Alaskan, Russ only recommends ethical and locally owned businesses for an authentic Alaskan experience. Dont miss his sunrise/sunset Anchorage Wildlife Tour!

Ive got loads more recommendations for learning about Native culture in the culture section so dont miss those ideas for more options.

A Quick Guide To Hope Alaska

A Quick Guide To Hope, Alaska was originally published in July 2020

Just an hour and a half drive south of Anchorage, Hope is the perfect getaway from the city located right across Cook Inlet. Established in 1896, Hope City had its heyday during the Alaskan gold rush as a mining town.

Not much has happened in Hope over the years, however, the town was deeply affected by the 1964 Earthquake like much the rest of Southcentral Alaska. Hope still has a small-town feel to it, though the population swells to many times its normal 190 on summer weekends during a good run.

Obviously, the gold rush is behind us these days, so the main attraction for weekenders coming to Hope is for the fishing at the mouth of Resurrection Creek.

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