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Small towns gateway to big adventure

Posted: Monday, April 10, 2006

 

  Mel Rush paddles Jaime Comstock and Matt Lowe back to shore after an afternoon fishing the blue-green waters of the Kenai River in Cooper Landing. Rush said he built the boat himself. Photo by M. Scott Moon

Mel Rush paddles Jaime Comstock and Matt Lowe back to shore after an afternoon fishing the blue-green waters of the Kenai River in Cooper Landing. Rush said he built the boat himself.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

The smallest communities on the Kenai Peninsula can offer some of the largest rewards.

Hope, Moose Pass and Cooper Landing are small communities accessible by roads situated among towering mountains waiting to reward the curious traveler. These communities are all gateways to the Chugach National Forest and the wonders contained within.

Hope, the peninsula’s northernmost community, began as a gold rush boom town and the 150 year-round residents still have small logging and mining operations.

Visitors to the picturesque town can tour the museum, pan for gold and mountain bike and hike the Resurrection Pass Trail.

Hope also is a jumping off point for some of Alaska’s best whitewater rafting, including nearby Sixmile Creek.

Whether it is berry picking in the mountains, gold panning, river rafting or bird watching, there is plenty to do.

Moose Pass is a hamlet of 216 people on the Seward Highway. The road through town offers views of the Alaska Railroad as it winds around mountains on the edge of town and of floatplanes landing and taking off from Trail Lake. It also hosts an annual summer solstice festival, this year on June 19 and 20.

The Sterling Highway parallels the majestic Kenai River in Cooper Landing as it winds through this riverside mountain town offering splendid views of the river, Kenai Lake and the Kenai Mountains.

The town, with a population of 375, is home to many riverside lodges, fishing guide businesses and river rafting outfits. Surrounded by the Chugach National Forest, it is near popular trailheads and the famous Russian River fishery.



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