The lull in my travel schedule as of late (for which there is good reason, will explain later) has had me itching to get out and do some more exploring in my own city. In this post I talked about the importance of getting out of your routine every now and then and playing tourist in your own hometown, and the other day I decided to do just that.
A while back I discovered some beautiful photos online of a quarry just outside of downtown Knoxville. I had never heard of it, so I did a little research only to find out that it’s hidden away only minutes from my downtown apartment in Fort Dickerson Park, just across the river on the south side of town. I bookmarked the Outdoor Knoxville website and put the quarry on my lists of spots to check out.
A quarry is actually an area of land that’s been excavated for rocks, stone or other materials, leaving an open-pit mine that can fill with water, creating a clear, deep artificial lake. (You may have known that already, but I didn’t! Always learning something new over here.)
So last week, I convinced my friend Hannah to explore Fort Dickerson Quarry with me. While it’s a very short drive to the actual park itself, it was a whole other adventure trying to get down to the trail that runs along the actual banks of the quarry. I promise we can both read maps but we couldn’t seem to find the “parking lot” near the access point to get to the bottom of the quarry. To make a long story short, we ended up walking along a railroad (an activity I do not condone) to get to a trail that led us where we were trying to go.
Once we finally found it, it was breathtaking. We walked along the trail outlining the bank of the quarry and the view just got better at each little outlook point. I really couldn’t believe this place has basically been in my backyard for four years and I just recently saw it for myself. I know from my research that this quarry is a common swimming hole and a popular place for people come to cool off during the hot months, but on this day, there was no one around but some people on down the trail a good ways. The quarry was empty, and the water was so still it almost looked like glass with the trees reflecting off the surface.
It’s a great place to go when you want to get away, but don’t need to go far. If you want to visit Fort Dickerson Quarry in Knoxville, find more information about it here. And if not, I suggest finding a few little peaceful places of refuge in your own city for when you just need to get away and find some serenity. 🙂
*Please be aware that quarries can be dangerous, and you should exercise caution when navigating areas like this. Do not go alone, do not jump off of cliffs into the water and use extreme caution when swimming in quarries. The City of Knoxville does not authorize, invite or recommend swimming in Fort Dickerson Quarry.
Photos by the talented H. Davis Photography.