Catch stunning views on this ten-mile roundtrip to the eco-friendly Len Foote Hike Inn, hiking from the tumbling cascades of Amicalola Falls.
OFFICIAL MAP: Nat Geo 777 Trails Illustrated Map
Nestled near the southern end of the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain, the Len Foote Hike Inn is a small, eco-friendly, rustic-modern inn that’s accessible only via hike. It’s one of our all-time favorite experiences in Georgia, capturing the adventure of backpacking with hot showers, fantastic hot meals, comfy beds and the company of like-minded adventurers that love to swap stories about travel and trails. And sunrises from the Hike Inn are cause for a ceremony: they’re simply spectacular.
The trail makes a trek to the lodge from the nearby Amicalola Falls State Park, traveling just under 5 miles, each way, dipping through valleys, rolling across ridges and ducking through green, fern-filled creek valleys. The trail makes an excellent 10-mile day hike if you’re up for it – but an overnight at the Hike Inn is like no other. Check out our full Len Foote Hike Inn review for our tips about staying at the inn. And be sure to make reservations: it’s often booked weeks in advance.
The Hike Inn Trail
The adventure departs from a trailhead near the crest of Amicalola Falls (view maps and driving directions). The trail shares its initial stretch with the Appalachian Approach Trail, an 8-mile access trail to the southernmost blaze of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia at Springer Mountain.
Note: if you haven’t hiked Amicalola Falls, allow time for a hike at this stunning waterfall before departing for the Hike Inn. Or, hike to the trailhead from the Amicalola Falls visitor center, following the Amicalola Falls Loop to add extra mileage and some incredible views to this hike.
The hike swings right at .35 mile, departing the AT Approach Trail, following green trail blazes and climbing elevation through a series of switchbacks. The trail veers east through a dense forest of young tulip trees and towering oak. The hike climbs steadily to a small knob at .8 mile, catching views of nearby rolling southern Appalachian mountains through the treeline.
The trail spans a stretch of sandy, moss-covered forest floor, meeting a massive, old-growth tulip tree at 1.6 miles. The tree’s large trunk soars into the sky, dwarfing the surrounding trees and standing stately in this otherwise young, spindly forest. Reaching a small summit at 2.1 miles, the trail begins a descent into a thick swath of mountain laurel and rhododendron, a broad ridge visible ahead through the forest canopy.
The hike crosses a wooden bridge at 2.7 miles, spanning a trickling creek speckled with moss-covered rocks. The trail crosses the creek once again, this time via stepping stones, before climbing through a dense thicket of mountain laurel. The hike rolls elevation, fording several more creek crossings before climbing to an overlook at 4 miles. Departing the overlook, the trail runs east to cross a summit before dipping into another rhododendron-filled stream valley, crossing Cochran’s Creek via a wooden bridge at 4.6 miles.
The hike meanders through a wet, marshy valley, crossing wooden planks and bridges before making the final stretch to the inn. The trail reaches the rustic, gray-clad Len Foote Hike Inn at 4.9 miles.
Staying the night?
Check in and enjoy the experience at this unique inn, and be sure to take the nightly tour for an introduction to the inn’s many LEED-certified eco-friendly features. Check out our Len Foote Hike Inn review for more tips and details from our stays at the inn. And be sure to join your fellow hikers, hot coffee in hand, for sunrise – it’s like no other.
(Note: while this trail is dog-friendly, the Inn is not.)
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Trails and routes may change – so please refer to official trail maps for the latest route.
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$5, or included with a Friends of Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites membership.
34.566933, -84.243583 // N34 34.016 W84 14.615