The park has a reputation as a location for picnics with 18 tables and a large pavilion equipped with restrooms, a grill, water fountain and its own fireplace. The pavilion is set to accommodate groups as large as 100 people with reservations gladly accepted for up to a year in advance.
Encompassing an area of 260+ acres, the family and pet friendly Red Clay provides plenty of space for a variety of activities including both easy and moderate hiking trails; various fields, some large enough and appropriate for sports such as flag football, soccer and ultimate frisbee; two amphitheaters; and Mill Creek, a great place to cool the kids off on hot summer days.
Mill Creek’s water flow is supplied by the Blue Hole Spring, a key natural landmark to Red Clay’s history.
At one point, Red Clay was the last council grounds for the Cherokee government before it was forced into the Trail of Gears. The spring supplied the water during council meetings.
Dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of the Cherokee nation, Red Clay celebrates the proud heritage as well as remembers the turbulent past that drove the Cherokee clans (seven of them) from the region and westward on the Trail of Tears.
Red Clay is open year round with limited hours during the winter. Beginning this weekend, the park gates open at 8 a.m. and remain open until dark.
To get to Red Clay State Historic Park, head south on Dalton Pike (about 6.5 miles south of Waterville Elementary) and turn right onto Weatherly Switch Trail S.E. and follow the signs.