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How to Hike Fort Dickerson Loop
Written by: Jess Curtis

Fort Dickerson Park (home of Augusta Quarry, formerly known as Fort Dickerson Quarry) is a pleasant, easy hike just barely south of downtown Knoxville. You’ve got plenty of scenic overlooks, but also a lil bit of that ✨scruff✨ Knoxville holds so dear. It’s also only 3-ish miles, so you can feel like you got a work out in – while still having plenty left in you for beers and hangs at Alliance Brewing Co. afterward. Best part – this hike loops right by the quarry for easy viewin’, swimmin’, and general summertime hangin’.

Disclaimer: I am not a hiker. In fact, I am not outdoorsy at all (unless you’re referring to patio hangs.). What I am is someone who recently got lost on this oh-so-“easy” hike about 3-4 times the other day, and so I am ripe and ready to give you step-by-step, fool-proof, even-a-non-hiker-could-do-it instructions. Are there other ways to do this loop? Probably. But I promise these instructions will work. Alright. Let’s become urban hikers, besties.

FIRST THINGS FIRST:

Let’s start at the very beginning: Parking. Come through the main entrance off Chapman Highway and park in the very first lot to your left. Take a little look-see and find the sign that says “Harold Lambert Overlook.” That, my friend, is your sign.

The sidewalk right there will lead you to a gorgeous overlook. We suggest starting your adventure with a few photos and selfies with that beaut behind ya. When you’re done with your photoshoot, go back down that same sidewalk just a smidge. Right before the overlook, you’ll see a faint trail. (If you’re coming from the sign, it will be on your right.) That, my friend, is your trail.

NOW, WE WALK:

This trail will take you by a few oh-so-picturesque power lines. Soon, near one of those power lines, you will come to a fork in the trail. You can take either fork! One trail will lead you straight down, basically to the quarry. (When we say straight down, we mean straight down. That sucker is steep.) The other trail, the one leading to the right, is the one we’d suggest.

Follow this trail a hot minute. Keep an eye out for views of Neyland Stadium and the Sunsphere while you walk. Perhaps more importantly, you should also keep an eye out for bikers as this is one of Knoxville’s many multi-use trails. Eventually, you’ll hit a couple switchbacks. (Ah, yes, switchbacks. Are you impressed I know the term “switchback”? Very hiker of me, I know.) After the switchbacks, you’ll walk parallel to a gravel road for a little bit. This will lead you to the parking lot for Augusta Quarry.

NOW, WE APPRECIATE:

Pop off the trail for a bit here and enjoy the quarry! There are lots of trails to explore around here, along with the gorgeous quarry itself. PRO-TIP: During the summer, especially on weekends, it can get a little packed with people swimming and hanging and partying. We suggest coming on a weekday if you can, or coming early to experience the quarry at its most serene 😌

NOW, WE KEEP WALKING:

When you’re done swimmin’ and ‘splorin’, come back to the parking lot. In the corner of said lot, you’ll see some loops where people can park bikes. Here’s a visual:

Augusta Quarry in South Knox

Hop onto the higher of the two trails right there (I’m pretty sure they connect, but why risk it? This is the fool proof guide.). This trail has the super reassuring name of “Pit Viper” (though there was not a solitary sign with that name on in to be found). Everything is fine 🙃 Pit Viper will lead you all the way back around to the original overlook and parking lot! You’ll pass some scenic chainlink fences – but also a sweeping view of South Knoxville and Chapman Highway.

As you come up to the Chapman Highway overlook, you’ll see a trail leading up, up, up. That, my friend, is your trail! This trail will lead you to an even better view of South Knox. You’re almost there, pals. That trail is going to take you all the way back to that first overlook and your car! WELL👏DONE👏 Without stopping for views or swims (or, you know, getting lost four times), this loop should take you about 45 minutes, give or take.

Like we said at the beginning, you’ve definitely earned yourself a pint from a South Knox brewery or a slice from South Coast Pizza. You are a hiker, an outdoorsman, a grand adventurer! If you’re ready to push yourself a little more (you’re a freaking pro now, after all), learn all about hiking our favorite area balds right here!

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