Photo courtesy of Len Foote Hike Inn
Where Cars Can’t Go: Len Foote Hike Inn
One of my favorite Georgia discoveries is the Len Foote Hike Inn, a backcountry lodge hidden deep in the Chattahoochee National Forest. To reach it, you must park at Amicalola Falls and hike five miles—cars can’t get any closer. The path is hilly, but you’ll be distracted from your workout by the soaring hawks, sassafras trees, and mountain streams.
When you arrive at the Len Foote Hike Inn–named after a noted Georgia conservationist–you’ll embark on an orientation tour that showcases the property’s solar energy panels, rainwater collection barrels, and famous composting worms. The Hike Inn was the first eco-lodge in the state to receive the coveted LEED Gold Certification, and they’re darn proud of that fact. Books, board games, and musical instruments are available for use, and Adirondack chairs are scattered throughout the property so stargazers can relax wherever they please. Meals are served family-style; don’t miss the “Amicalolicious” cookies (packed with chocolate chips, peanut butter, oatmeal and M&Ms). If you didn’t get enough hiking in during your trek to the property (or if you ate too many cookies), there’s another four-and-a-half-mile trail from the inn to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
Unlike many backcountry lodges, the Hike Inn provides all bed linens and towels, and it even has hot showers. It isn’t fancy by any means, but it’s not primitive either—well, save for its total lack of cell service. But to me, that’s the best part.
Rates start at $170 for double occupancy.