If you are a casual reader of this blog, you will know that I enjoy hiking near and far from my home. One of the “near” hikes on my list to check out was the hike to the Hike Inn in north Georgia. The Hike Inn can only be accessed by hiking to it hence the name (actually, it’s full name is Len Foote Hike Inn). There is a service road leading to it but, as the name implies, it is for service, not for guests. Guests need to do the 5 hour hike in and out.
The trail begins atop Amicalola Falls (about 1.5 hrs/70-mile drive from Atlanta) – a destination to check out onto itself with other trails and a phenomenally tall set of staircases if you want to walk from the bottom of the falls to the top. On this day, we drove to the top of the falls where we would leave our vehicles.
The Hike Inn is in high demand so you need to book it in advance. It is well worth it. The hike is not super strenuous and you are rewarded by a magnificent place to stay.
The accommodations are basic (bunk beds) and you can get private rooms. The bathrooms and showers are shared but they are actually quite clean and nice (especially when compared with how basic the rooms are). The toilets actually do not flush but, instead, deposit the waste (nice wording, huh?) somewhere below where it is taken advantage of through processes that they staff will happily explain if you decide to take them up on the tour of the facility (it is actually worth doing).
Actually, everything about the place is about taking care of the environment. The inn offers dining service with support of volunteers who get to stay for free for their service. The Hike Inn politely stresses the importance of not wasting food (only serve yourself what you need) and actually tracks clean plates’ count at the end of a meal. The food is delicious and the dining area is an open space where you can meet other hikers. Really neat.
After dinner (or before), you can sit and relax in any number of places around the inn. One of my favorites is the upper porch looking east-ish – I love me a good rocking chair with a view! You can also go for short walks around. Right in that upper porch area is a game room where people can congregate and play games or read a book.
The best part of it all is sunrise. If you wake up early enough (and I recommend it!), go down to the sitting area below and face east. Bring a blanket. And then enjoy a majestic sunrise if the weather cooperates. It is the perfect way to end the stay before starting back on the trail down. Next time I go, I think I may stay two nights to really enjoy the place and its surroundings! I leave you with a series of photos from the amazing sunrise I witnessed!