Named for longtime conservationist Leonard E. Foote, the Hike Inn Trail takes amblers to the famed Hike Inn. Accessible to hikers on foot only, the Hike Inn provides guests standard hotel amenities and big doses of peace and quiet.
Guests of the Hike Inn must check in at the park Visitor Center by 2 p.m. to receive permission to start the trek to the remote location. The Inn is a sustainably designed facility that’s integrated with its tranquil Chattahoochee National Forest environment. Its four main buildings offer 20 private guest rooms, hot showers, fresh linens, and home-cooked meals, year-round.
Hikers will find the designated parking area north of the falls and begin their journey on the Appalachian Approach Trail. After 0.2 miles, the lime green-blazed the Len Foote Trail breaks off and soon officially enters the Chattahoochee National Forest.
The Hike Inn Trail provides an excellent cross-section of North Georgia biodiversity. Dense, deciduous forests open into glades populated with wildflowers and ferns. Area wildlife include white-tailed deer, foxes, racoons, squirrels, and the occasional black bear. Birding is also popular in the backcountry with the opportunity to see migratory birds like orioles and grosbeaks and regional species like wrens, warblers, hawks, and owls.
With elevation ranging between 2,800 and 3,100 feet, the trail crosses two creeks and has several scenic lookouts before reaching the Len Foote Hike Inn, which sits 4.9 miles from the trailhead. If you’re simply hiking past and not staying overnight, a brief tour of the grounds is well worth it. The trail continues another mile before reconnecting with the Approach Trail, which is commonly used to create an 11-mile day hike loop back to the Amicalola parking lot.