Happy Labor Day! It’s the unofficial end of summer already. I’ve been enjoying the cooler weather we’ve had recently.
When I visited Red Clay State Historic Park at the end of July, it was a typical Tennessee humid summer day. So I was particularly glad to see this long covered porch at the visitor center; it was the perfect place to relax in a rocking chair with a post-hike snack.
This park, about 45 minutes east of Chattanooga, is the site of the last council grounds of the Cherokee from 1832 - 1838 when they were forced west on the Trail of Tears. (1)
Behind the visitor center, there are replicas of a Cherokee farmhouse, sleeping huts, and a replica of a council house. (2)
There is also the Blue Hole Spring; the blue color is natural! (3)
If you walk up a small hill, you can see the Eternal Flame of the Cherokee Nation. It’s a memorial to those who perished on the Trail of Tears, and it memorializes the reunification of the Eastern and Western Cherokee nations here at the park in 1984. (4)
I was really interested to see signs in a second language: Cherokee! I don’t think I had ever seen Cherokee written down before.
I hiked the Council of Trees Trail, a 1.7 mile loop. There’s a stone overlook at the halfway point of the trail. (5)
Don’t leave the park without seeing the museum in the visitor center that has artifacts from the area.
https://tnstateparks.com/assets/pdf/additional-content/park-brochures/red-clay_brochure.pdf ; visitor center interpretive panels
Park interpretive panels
Discussion with park staff during July 2023 visit.
Plaque above the Eternal Flame Monument.
September 4, 2023