This was my 2nd trip here Last year we went in May and weather was chilly and trees were still bare. This year we went in June and everything was green– trees were full and we had mostly non stop rain… that did not take way from our fun! Book Early! This place sells out quickly during months of good weather and for all holidays (Especially Thanksgiving).
The hike up was amazing and the facility is top notch. Was wonderful to not have to set up a tent in the rain we had.
Make sure when you arrive at the state park that you check in at the lower falls ranger station so the Inn knows about what time you will arrive. Check in is easy and just takes a minute. You can start your hike there and take the 400 plus steps to the upper falls and pick up trail– or you can park the lot above the falls.
We took our time and made the hike up in 4 hours– part of the trail was slick when rains were heavy. Everything was so green and beautiful. Just when you think how much further can it be you round the corner of the trail and catch a glimpse of the front porch.
We checked into our rooms we had 2 adjoining rooms for 4 of us and 1 room for our male companion. Beds/Pillows were comfortable Clean bedding and blankets, hooks for clothing and packs, there was also a stool and mirror on the wall.
Bathroom was close in the next building and walkway was covered. Bathrooms were wonderful, clean and spacious. Body wash/shampoo mounted on dispenser in showers. Towels provided.
Meals– what can I say other than the provided breakfast and dinners were AMAZING. Coffee, Tea, Lemonade, Water(hot and cold) were available nearly all day. You could purchase bagged lunches which included sandwich, The BEST "Amicalicious" everything gluten free cookie and trail mix.
Staff provides tours and evening programs. The views are amazing from the porch or the star station.
There are trails to hike around the property or you can hike the 6 miles round trip out to Springer Mountain and the start of the AT. There is a wonderful community room with books, games, cards, puzzles, guitar that you can spend your evenings entertaining yourself or each other. I have been there twice and I cannot wait to go back.
After your first visit there are opportunities to go back as a volunteer. You can inquire about these opportunities at the Len Foote front desk.
I have always wanted to visit this place and it did not disappoint. The 5 mile hike starts inside the Amicalola Falls State Park and for a bit shares the trail with AT approach trail to Springer Mountain. The entire Hike to the inn is 5 miles and takes around 3-4 hours. the trail is not strenuous but for one section towards the end and offers vistas to the south but is mostly shaded. I hiked in June the day after a drenching rain and enjoyed the cool vapors of galax in the air with early blooming Mountain Laurel. The temperature at the inn is a god 10-15 degrees cooler than Amicalola, which is welcome in the summer heat.
If you are planning to backpack up to this spot, you should know that you will need very little once you get there. They have hot showers with soap, linens for the shower and bedding, snacks and drinks on hand, a hot dinner and breakfast. They even will pack a lunch for you the next day for your hike out (for an additional fee). There are signs saying that it is a cel phone free space but they seem to not enforce this as people were taking pictures. There is also a solar powered charging station for your devices. The signs really just encourage people to unplug and use technology sparingly.
The facility consists of 4 buildings- the bunkhouse (where you check in and has a nice lobby), the bathhouse, the dining hall, and the sunrise room. The facility is 70% run on solar power. At 5 PM, a staff member offers a tour of the facility and describes the numerous sustainable practices that the inn uses. At 6 PM is dinner, they ring a bell so you don't have to watch the clock. Then at 7 pm there is a staff led educational program in the dining hall.
There is a lovely spot to watch the sunrise and the staff actually walks the area outside the rooms just before sunrise with a soft drum that alerts visitors of the sunrise, but I did not find it too jarring for those who wish to keep sleeping. There was however, a slight "hum" to the building that went on all night that appeared to be the evaporation fans for the composting toilets. It was not too bad but might impact light sleepers.
The price is high for a family of four when you think camping or even glamping. The inn offers group programs for students at special rates and also has half price sales in mid summer but a family coming for a night at regular price is looking at around $600. I prefer this as a solo getaway for that reason but it is worth a splurge with your family if you can catch the half off rate.