Mead's Quarry

Lower Valley + Ridge, Tennessee

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Mead's Quarry


  • Take a dip in Meads or rent a canoe or stand-up paddleboard. Cool off with a drink from Yeehaw Brewing, then explore the trails nearby.- Mead's Quarry
  • On a weekend summer day, the quarry will be filled with families and friends soaking up the summer. Try a mid-week visit to escape the crowd.- Mead's Quarry
  • Swimming or paddling, there's something for everyone.- Mead's Quarry
  • The quarry also includes a designated swimming area. It is perfect spot for cooling off after a day of exploring the Knoxville Urban Wilderness Trails!- Mead's Quarry
  • Freshwater jellyfish can sometimes be seen in the 25-acre lake. The jellyfish are actually a sign of healthy water and nothing to be concerned about.- Mead's Quarry
  • A day at Mead's Quarry is the perfect way to spend a summer day with family and friends.- Mead's Quarry
  • The water at Mead's Quarry runs 80 to 100 feet deep throughout the 25-acre lake.- Mead's Quarry
  • Visiting Mead's on a busy day? Paddle to the southwest end of the quarry for a little more solitude.- Mead's Quarry
  • Currently, no private boats are allowed in the lake. However, you can rent a canoe or paddleboard for $12 per boat per hour.- Mead's Quarry
  • No outside alcohol is allowed at Mead's Quarry. However, you can enjoy a cold drink from YeeHaw Brewing in the designated areas.- Mead's Quarry
  • Not every summer day is filled with people at Mead's Quarry. Some days you'll have the place to yourself.- Mead's Quarry
  • Canoe rentals for the lake.- Mead's Quarry
  • A peaceful summer day in the Quarry.- Mead's Quarry
  • View of the quarry lake from the southwest end.- Mead's Quarry
Overview + Weather
Deep swimming hole. Easy access from downtown. Rentals available. Outdoor activities nearby.
Crowds. No private boats.
Lower Valley + Ridge, TN
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Current Local Weather:
Adventure Description

Adventure Description


Mead's Quarry Lake is located in the heart of Knoxville's Urban Wilderness, and it is a favorite among those who call the Scruffy City home. What was once a booming marble quarry in the mid-1800s is now the perfect destination for an escape from downtown Knoxville, located just 4 miles away. In 2014 the quarry was added to the National Park Service's National Register for Historical Places.

As you explore the quarry, you'll quickly see that there is a perfect blend of today's outdoor life as well as an appreciation for the history of the area. Today, the 25-acre lake is open for paddleboard and canoe rentals as well as swimming during the summer months. You'll find access for private boats and boards at the new Ijams Landing, located a short distance from the lake.

However, Knoxville's local outfitter, River Sports, and Ijams Nature Center have made it extremely convenient to roll into the parking area and hop on the water. As you paddle your way around the lake, you may even spot a freshwater jelllyfish or two. If you do, there's no need for concern; the jellyfish are actually a sign that the water is healthy.

If you visit on a weekday, you'll probably only share the lake with a few others. If you stop by on a hot and humid Tennessee day, be prepared to join in with many others seeking a break from the heat. If that is the case, get to know the locals or paddle down to the southwest end of the lake for some solitude. As you explore that side, you'll also notice one of the many caves at Ijams.

Before or after enjoying the water, take time to explore the trails in the area as well. You'll find many tucked-away secrets in one of the most historic and beautiful corners of Knoxville.

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Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(16 within a 30 mile radius)

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