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.