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Mead's Quarry at Ijams

Upper East Valley + Ridge, Tennessee

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Mead's Quarry at Ijams

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  • You'll find restrooms, a cold beer with YeeHaw Brewing, and stand-up paddleboard and canoe rentals with River Sports next to the parking lot at Mead's Quarry. - Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • Mead's Quarry not only offers a spot for flatwater fun but also an area for swimming.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • Explore the quarry by canoe or SUP during the summer months.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • Mead's Quarry.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • Knoxville's Urban Wilderness not only includes the Mead's Quarry area but also 30 miles of trails for exploring.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • The mimosa trees that bloom in the summer give Tennessee a dash of tropical color.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • Queen Anne's lace can be found all around the quarry.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • Explore the trails around Mead's Quarry for different views.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • Check out all of the signs along the way for interesting history and facts on the area.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • Butterflies love to join in on the fun mid-day.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • The trails at Mead's Quarry and in Knoxville's Urban Wilderness are open to walkers, runners, bikes, and dogs.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • Signs of days long gone at the quarry can be found along the way.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • Mead's Quarry.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • Imerys Trail will take you to multiple spots of the quarry that are tucked away.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • Trail to the Keyhole.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • The Keyhole is an area that was built in the 1920s as a entrance for workers to the other side of the quarry. The area is now being taken over by nature and is one of the most unique spots in Knoxville.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • The Keyhole.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • Imerys Trail will take you to the Keyhole and Hayworth Hollow.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • Stand-up paddleboard and canoe rentals are available for the quarry during summer months.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • The quarry is a favorite among locals for a quick escape just a few miles from downtown Knoxville.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • Steps can be found along the way to the Keyhole along with interesting overlooks of the quarry area.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • Hayworth Hollow is one of the most interesting spots of the quarry, offering a sudden drop in temperatures in the summer months, moss-covered boulders, and a cave that's closed off to the public.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • Hayworth Hollow.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
  • Nature is slowly but surely taking over a once-booming area inside the quarry.- Mead's Quarry at Ijams
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Swimming. Flatwater paddle with rentals only. Easy access. History.
Cons: 
None.
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Region:
Upper East Valley + Ridge, TN
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

Located just a few miles from downtown Knoxville in Knoxville's Urban Wilderness, you'll find one of the most unique spots that Knoxville has to offer: Mead's Quarry. Once a booming area filled with workers and equipment, the area is now a perfect balance of human-built structures and areas reclaimed by nature.

Once at the quarry, you'll find restrooms, a cold beer with YeeHaw Brewing, and flatwater rentals to explore the quarry by water in the summer months. You can check out the trails all around the quarry by foot or bike, and dogs are also welcome to come along.

Two of the spots that you won't want to miss in the quarry are the Keyhole and Hayworth Hollow. Both can be located and accessed via the Imerys Trail. You'll find multiple signs for the area in the parking area and along the trails. You can also pick up a printed map at the Ijams Nature Center's visitor center, located to your left just before parking at the quarry. Take the Imerys Trail to check out the Keyhole, an area built in the 1920s to give workers access to the other side of the quarry. Today the area looks like the ruins from an ancient civilization. Take a walk through the Keyhole to experience an area that the locals refer to as God's Chair. In summer months you'll also find it refreshing to stand in front of a cave, located in the very back of the area. Even on the hottest of Tennessee days, it acts as a natural air conditioning unit.

After exploring the Keyhole, return to the Imerys Trail and take a right to find Hayworth Hollow. As you begin your descent into the hollow, you'll feel the temperature drop. At the end of the trail look to your right to view a field of boulders and cave entrance. The cave is closed to the public to protect the local bat population. Return to parking area, explore more, or take a dip in the quarry's swimming area.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(16 within a 30 mile radius)

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