Red Clay State Historic Park
Red Clay State Historic Park 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. A Cherokee farm and council house of the period have been replicated to offer visitors a glimpse of how the area might have looked 150 years ago. Blue Hole Spring, a natural landmark and sacred council spring, produces over 400,000 gallons of sapphire-blue water a day. The spring was used by the Cherokee during their council meeting. 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 features a 500-seat amphitheater which can be reserved and is often used for musical and theatrical performances. The parks picnic pavilion can hold up to 100 people, is equipped with a grill, water fountain and restroom and can be reserved up to one year in advance. There are 18 individual picnic tables each with a grill and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is also a two-mile loop trail with a beautiful limestone overlook tower and is perfect for beginners and for hikers with small children. Limited handicap accessibility.