Over some old train tracks, through a gate, down a winding gravel road near Mary Vestal Park rests what most simply call 'the quarry.'

The quarry off of Blount Avenue, located at heart of city-owned Fort Dickerson Park, has become a popular spot for those in Knoxville to go swimming and sightseeing during warmer weather days. The quarry seems more appealing to those who do not have their own pool or those who want to enjoy a change in scenery.

"My friend took me there my freshman year at UT," said Sam Dodge, a junior in food science who has been to the quarry several times. "It was kind of a well-kept secret then."

Considering the quarry does not have a formal address, its location is spread through word of mouth.

"I first heard about it in the spring of 2012," said undecided junior Dustin Shetley, a nine-time veteran of the quarry. "There are always a lot of people jumping when I go."

At the quarry, varying levels of rock cliffs offer the more adventurous swimmers a few cliff-diving options. Those who are brave enough can dive off the rocks into the water below, estimated to range from depths of 20 feet to 220 feet.

"I jumped off the smaller parts closer to the water but not the big one," Shetley said. "But watching my friends swim around was a great experience."

The quarry also serves as a beautiful oasis of East Tennessee landscape. Alle Logan, a graduate student in veterinary medicine, chose to simply enjoy the view on her visit to the quarry.

"We just looked at the scenery," Logan said, describing a trip to the quarry with a group of friends. Logan was impressed by the expansive panorama, noting how far the water went out and around the corner, beyond sight.
Shetley agreed.

"I just loved the view of the water shining and the rock walls in the sunlight," he said.

As the quarry has grown in popularity, there have been reports of people who have visited the quarry and received tickets for jumping. Some rumors abound that helicopters patrol the area, although the Daily Beacon could not confirm the story.

"I don't know anyone personally," Dodge said when asked if she knew anyone who had been ticketed. "But I have heard from a few friends that they've had friends get tickets there."
Neither Logan or Shetley could confirm the ticketing fears, but Logan admitted that the activity is prohibited.

"I know it is private property and people aren't supposed to be there period," she said.
The area made headlines as recently as 2009 when a swimmer drowned in the waters. Swimming at the quarry is technically trespassing, although there is an overlook at Fort Dickerson Park open to the public.

"I think they've cracked down on kids going there since," said Dodge.