Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites
Hike Inn - Construction Details
This small remote inn, tucked away high in the beautiful North Georgia mountains near the beginning of the Appalachian Trail, can be reached only by a five mile wilderness hike.

The architecture of the inn is a reflection of a typical Japanese inn. The Hike Inn cascades down the natural course of the mountainside in five separate overlapping building units supported above ground on poles. In this way the rugged natural landscape was not altered and the trees were preserved.

These building units are simply constructed of renewable lightweight common materials and incorporates technology such as composting toilets, solar energy panels, and natural ventilation to achieve sustainable design.

The inn provides minimal but adequate comforts so that people of all ages can safely experience a real wilderness adventure while being entertained and educated about the importance of protecting and sustaining our fragile North Georgia mountain environment.

Hike Inn Gains National Recognition
Back to Engineering and Construction page.

Nature Friendly and Sustainable Design Features of the Hike Inn:
Energy & Indoor Air Quality:
  • Walls, floors and ceilings are heavily insulated. Glass is double glazed.
  • The small, cozy guest rooms are intended only for dressing and sleeping. Visitors are encouraged to linger in the common areas.
  • A small radiant heater supplies heat to each room in winter and a small rotating fan cools in summer. Ceiling vents in each room eliminate the problem of excess body water brought in by hikers that can condense on the room ceiling and walls.

    Site & Integration:
  • The construction of the Inn in 1997/98 required little disturbance of the land. Poles support the five building units above the ground. No concrete was used in the construction.
  • A “no-cross” line was established during construction to prevent equipment from damaging the surrounding natural environment. A $3000 per instance penalty insured compliance.
    To prevent the possibility of any site erosion:
  • Roof water is collected in cisterns and used to irrigate the Inn’s vegetable and herb garden. (It also provides a refreshing foot bath for the tired arriving hiker.)
  • Yard water from around and below the building units is collected in blocking pools and slowly dissipated into the forest.

    Waste & Materials:
  • Construction waste was almost totally eliminated by the building’s design that utilized standard components such as 4’ x 8’ sheets of plywood, pre-cut roof trusses, standard pre-framed doors and windows, and 8’ long 2’ x 4’ studs.
  • Human waste is treated by composting toilets. Kitchen waste is composted using red wriggler worms and the resulting rich mixture is used to fertilize the organic vegetable garden.
  • The native stone from the site was used for retaining walls and the Starbase Solar Education feature.
  • Potable water is supplied from a deep rock drilled well.

    Bunk Room

    Kitchen/Dining Room

    Solar Panels

    Composting Toilet

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