GEORGIA

Len Foote Hike Inn

Want to get an authentic taste of hiking the Appalachian Trail, without having to haul gear or walk too strenuously? Opt for the five-mile hike from Amicalola Falls State Park to reach Len Foote Hike Inn, Georgia’s only backcountry inn.

For more than a dozen years, the Hike Inn has welcomed hikers with hot showers, hearty meals and rustic accommodations, so you only need to carry a daypack with toiletries and cameras on the journey.

“Some people think that our inn is just for hard-core hikers, but that’s not the case,” said Hike Inn Executive Director Eric Graves. “We’ve had visitors as young as three and as old as 84. The trail isn’t particularly difficult, and visitors can take their time hiking.”

The hike, which is rated “easy to moderate,” weaves through trees, over creeks and takes an average of three hours to complete—though it can take longer if you grow enamored with the native plants, wild flowers and colorful mushrooms growing along the stony path.

Plan to arrive by five o’clock for the facilities tour. The Hike Inn’s eco-friendly facilities are certified by the Leadership for Energy Efficient Design (LEED). Conservation programs include solar panels, odor-free composting toilets, and a “clean plate” policy to reduce the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills. Four worm beds help recycle almost all of the inn’s organic waste including office paper and kitchen scraps; eating two times their body weight each day, the worms help create fertilizer for the property’s native plant gardens. After dinner, gather for programs on wildlife, the Appalachian Trail or other environmental topics.

The Hike Inn is comprised of a bathhouse, dining room for breakfasts and dinners that are served family-style, a Sunrise Room filled with games, books and musical instruments, and 20 guest rooms outfitted with bunk beds. Adirondack chairs located throughout the property encourage relaxed contemplation of the surroundings.

If you’d like to hike farther and stay longer, a 4.4-mile trail (8.8 miles round trip) extends from the Hike Inn to Springer Mountain, the official southern terminus of the famed 2,184-mile Appalachian Trail. Most guests who hike to Springer Mountain spend two nights at the Hike Inn to allow a full day for the hike.

Rates are $97 single occupancy and $140 double occupancy, including dinner and breakfast. Trail lunches are available and advanced reservations are required. To learn more, visit www.hike-inn.com or call 800-581-8032.

Photos by Georgia Department of Natural Resources

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