Mead’s Quarry is one of the prime outdoor locations in Knoxville. As one piece of the Knoxville Urban Wilderness, a multi-property collaboration of groomed trails for public recreation use, the Mead’s Quarry property gives prime terrain for beginner to intermediate mountain bikers to get into the woods without having to drive far. The area also features several hikes specifically for hikers, giving great views of the moss-covered limestone cliffs and massive blocks left behind by the mining operation.
What Makes It Great
The convenience alone makes this spot a must-do, but the quality of the trails for biking, hiking, and running make this one of Knoxville's most-loved outdoor locations. Most every weekend the parking lot is packed with people heading out on close-to-home adventures, but before or after work (or during a lunch break) this trail system becomes a little private getaway. Gorgeous views of the quarry lake can be reached on many of the trails, while others take you to unique formations left by the former mining operation. Get out and explore this great in-town resource, there are plenty of sweet spots to be found.
Just past the River Sports shed a gravel road (Imerys Trail) continues paralleling old railroad tracks and is the usual route for mountain bikers heading towards their preferred trail. The initial hill is a quick warm up and places riders onto a rocky and flat path towards an intersection where a large trail map may be found. From the intersection there are several options, one of the most popular being the Flow trail that starts just to the left of the map. This trail is the best option at Mead’s for beginners, but also gives more advanced riders a fast-paced and winding descent over some interesting features back to the parking lot. For riders looking to work on skills, riding laps of the Flow trail may be a perfect way to spend an afternoon. If riding several laps of Flow is your choice, it is recommended to ride back up the gravel road and start from the beginning instead of retracing the trail uphill.
If you are looking to move on to other trails, the maps located at the first large intersection (where Flow begins) and in the parking lot are very helpful and list not only trail difficulty but also length. Many riders make their way to the South Western section of the property (near Marie Myers Park) and make a long loop back on Burnett Ridge or Hickory Trails. All trails are well marked, and riders are encouraged explore the property.
Who is Going to Love It
There are plenty of options for hikers here, but trail runners and mountain bikers will have the most fun. This area definitely does not have the easiest trails for beginners, but there is something here for all experience levels. Regardless of the difficulty of the trail you chose, a dose of adrenaline could be around any turn.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Getting to Other Areas
To ride from Mead’s Quarry to the Forks of the River WMA trails- from the Mead’s Quarry parking lot turn right on Island Home Pike and then take an immediate left onto McClure Lane and the Will Skelton Greenway will be seen along the road. The Greenway will take you into the Urban Wilderness and more trail options will be available.
To ride from Mead’s Quarry into Marie Myers Park and the Hastie Natural Area, several trail linkages can be taken from the Mead’s parking lot. In order to choose the trails that are right for you, look at the maps provided on site or ask the helpful riders around you.
As always, please do not ride or run here during or immediately after rain in order to preserve the integrity of the trails.