Hope, Alaska - Alaska's Friendliest Town Hope was one of the original gold rush towns formed in 1889, before Dawson or Nome. Miners named their camp after prospector, Percy Hope. The buildings and flavor of the early days still charm, with the store downtown serving customers since 1896, and the turn-of-the-century log Social Hall that still hosts community meetings, dances and weddings. Hope, like its name suggests is a town for opportunists and adventurers. People have been gold mining here for over 100 years and you can still pan today. Once you have found your fortune, get your adrenaline flowing with a class V whitewater rafting trip. If you prefer a more serene experience with nature, set out in a canoe or explore 100’s of miles of forest service maintained hiking trails, although, your serenity may occasionally be interrupted by a bear.