Red Clay State Historic Park in Cleveland, Tennessee, encompasses 263-acres of narrow valleys formerly used as cotton and pasture land. The park site was the last seat of Cherokee national government before the 1838 enforcement of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 by the U.S. military, which resulted in most of the Cherokee people in the area being forced to emigrate west. Eleven general councils were held between 1832 and 1837. Red Clay is where the Trail of Tears really began, for it was at the Red Clay Council Grounds that the Cherokee learned that they had lost their mountains, streams and valleys forever.
The park is home to a natural landmark, Blue Hole Spring, which arises from beneath a limestone ledge to form a deep pool that flows into Mill Creek, a tributary of the Conasauga and Coosa River system. The spring was used by the Cherokee for their water supply during council meetings.
Red Clay State Historic Park has a 100-person capacity picnic pavilion and 18 individual picnic tables. The picnic shelter may be reserved up to one year in advance and is equipped with a grill, a water fountain and restrooms. Individual picnic tables each have a grill and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The park also features an amphitheater that can seat up to 500 people. The amphitheater can be reserved and often used for musical and theatrical performances.
The James F. Corn Interpretive Facility contains exhibits on the 19th century Cherokee, the Trail of Tears, Cherokee art, a video theater, gift shop and small library.
Red Clay Council Ground was added to the registry in 1972.