Atop a ridge, 3,100 feet above sea level, overlooking the southern end of the Appalachian Mountains, the Len Foote Hike Inn at Amicalola Falls State Park in north Georgia offers a majestic view of the foothills. Guests arrive in on foot-500 – elevation gain in feet from trailhead to entrance of the Inn, hiking a five-mile trail, with a hot meal and a warm shower waiting for you at the end.
The inn, named for the naturalist who inspired the Mark Trail newspaper comic strip,and was designed to provide accommodations “somewhere between a tent and a Holiday Inn.” The social den of the inn is where guests gather around a wood stove, reading, chatting or playing a collection of board games.
The 20 rooms in the bunkhouse are little more than an 8-by-10 foot with bunk beds. There is a wall-mounted fan and a ceiling light. There is no electric outlet to charge your iPod or cell phone. Cell phones, in fact, are banned on the grounds.
The bathhouse offers two showers for each gender. There are also wall-mounted hair dryers. There are five composting toilets, each in a separate water closet.
Meals are served family-style, with heaping platters of meat and vegetables set down on the table. Hikers sit together at long tables, passing platters and swapping stories.
Plan Your Trip
Where: Amicalola Falls State Park is about 70 miles north of downtown Atlanta. Take Ga. 400 north from the city to Dawsonville. Take Ga. 53 west out of Dawsonville, then Ga. 183 north to Ga. 52 east. Check in at the visitors’ center near the main entrance before starting on the trail.
The hike: The hike to the inn is just under five miles, with a total elevation gain of about 500 feet. Plan on a two- to-three-hour hike, depending on your level of fitness.
Rates: The rate is $70 per person double occupancy, $97 single occupancy. There are also 12% state sales and county lodging taxes. The rate includes dinner and breakfast. Trail lunches and snacks are available for an extra charge.
What to bring: In addition to toiletries, change of clothes, pack the gear necessary to safely spend a day in the woods: first aid kit, water, insect repellent, flashlight. Wear comfortable hiking boots or walking shoes and be prepared for a change in the weather.
Pack a pair of flip-flops for trips to the bathhouse and if you plan to read in your bunk, a clip-on reading light or battery-powered headlamp.
Reservations: 800-581-8032, 10 A,M. – 5: P.M. Monday-Friday.
For more information: See the Hike Inn website.