Summertime Bliss


Meads Quarry stacks one leisure-time activity upon another

With trees a vibrant green and temperatures on the rise, it’s evident summer’s nearly here. Many East Tennesseans anxiously await this change of season for all the beauty our outdoors has to offer. 

What’s on your leisure time to-do list this year? Maybe it’s swimming with your family, maybe it’s a day on the water fishing with friends, or maybe it’s a solitary hike through the woods. If you are searching for outdoor activities, Meads Quarry, a part of Ijams Nature Center, has something just right for you.

In the 19th century, when Knoxville was known as Marble City, the quarry was the source of huge blocks of Tennessee marble. It employed hundreds until the demand for marble declined in the 20th century. It became an eyesore and illegal dump site until Ijams annexed it and cleaned it up. 

Meads Quarry draws outdoors lovers with a multitude of activities. Amber Parker, executive director of Ijams Nature Center, calls it the perfect summertime spot. “It’s a wonderful resource. It’s a more recreational aspect of Ijams. And it offers nine miles of trail system that are for multi-use.”

During the summer, the cool waters of the quarry give a great contrast to our southern heat. Swimming and fishing help ease some of the sweat off your brow. The nature center offers boat rentals including canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards.

The trails keep people mountain biking and hiking. Parker says, “People set out to one of the trails we have, but then they can continue on from there into the Urban Wilderness.”

Meads Quarry has plenty of activities coming up this summer, and Ijams Nature Center is happy to find the ones that best fit you. If beautiful outdoors, cool calm waters and relaxation are what you seek this summer, consider giving this a try.   

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