Georgia has some unique places to stay and the Len Foote Hike Inn may be at the top. The backcountry lodge was built in 1998 with most of the building materials brought to the mountain via a bumpy service road.
It was designed to use minimal waste, taking on the features of the landscape. It is now LEED certified as well. Accessible only by a five-mile trail from Amicalola Falls State Park, the inn is close to Springer Mountain and is an easy detour from the Appalachian Trail.
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Named for a local conservationist and photographer, the Len Foote Hike Inn is open year-round and is made up of connected buildings. There are twenty bunkrooms, each with two beds, a small closet area, hangers, and a heater and fan. Extra blankets are also available during the winter months.
There’s also a central lobby, the dining hall, bathhouse, and game room. In addition to the hiking trails, guests can go on a tour of the inn, play a game of cornhole, or read a book in one of the rocking chairs that overlook the Chattahoochee National Forest. The staff also lead nature lectures after dinner.
Breakfast and dinner are included in your stay at the Hike Inn and sack lunches can be purchased for an additional fee. Extra snacks should be purchased at a grocery store in Marble Hill or at the Amicalola Falls Visitor’s Center.
The staff can accommodate dietary requirements with advance notice. During my stay, we had roasted pork, mashed potatoes, and salad for dinner and eggs, bacon, and grits for breakfast.
“Green” efforts are very important at the Hike Inn because anything that goes up the mountain has to come down. Guests are encouraged to pack out their own trash when possible.
Most of the lights are on motion sensors, the showers are solar-powered, and toilets are composting. Family-style meals are served to minimize food waste and the little waste is used in their vermiculture program. Cups are labeled for reuse to minimize water use.
For more on the Len Foote Hike Inn experience for young children and families, visit our friends at 365 Atlanta Traveler.
If You Go
Len Foote Hike Inn is located above Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville, Georgia. Advance reservations are recommended. The inn tends to be fully booked during weekends, especially in the warmer months but is easier to find a spot during the week.
Guests must check in at the visitor’s center by 2 pm on the day of their stay. It costs around $127 per night for two guests. The hike itself takes around three hours, depending on your fitness level, and starts at the top of the waterfall.
Hiking poles or wooden sticks are helpful for balance. I also recommend packing layers because it can get cold after dark. If you want to wake up for sunrise, bring a comfy jacket and thick socks. Leave the electronics behind because outlets are limited and phones are discouraged.