Piece-by-Piece is the name of a series of hikes scheduled monthly by Ijams Nature Center, and led by naturalist, Stephen Lyn Bales. These hikes will traverse the South Loop of Knoxville's Urban Wilderness Trail in 2-3 mile sections.
Further down the trail we explored the Keyhole "wall" at the Ross Marble Quarry, below. At the top of the wall you can see railing that was installed to offer a safe crossing as you continue on the trail.
The limestone desposits that included the prized industrial grade limestone sold as Tennessee marble in the area are part of the underlying Holston Formation that passes through the 300-acre Ijams property.
You can walk through the keyhole to explore the other side. The images immediately above and below were taken at a different time of year and show the proportional size of the keyhole feature.
On our return to the trail head, we hiked along the ridge with a distant view of the Smokies on one side and blocks of limestone on the other.
Links and Resources:
Ijams Nature Center
Stephen Lyn Bales--Nature Calling
Marble Quarry Map
Piece-by-Piece--Urban Wilderness South Loop
Knoxville's Urban Wilderness
Legacy Parks Foundation--Knoxville's Urban Wilderness hike descriptions with trail maps
More about geological features of the area: Ottosee shale to Lenoir limestone