Red Clay State Historic Park is located in the extreme southwest corner of Bradley County in Tennessee, just above the Tennessee-Georgia state line. The 263-acre park was set aside more than 25 years ago to mark the last location of the Cherokee councils before the 1838 Trail of Tears, the forced march of the American Indians from the Southeast to Oklahoma.
Red Clay served as the seat of Cherokee government from 1832 until the forced removal of the Cherokee in 1838. By 1832, the State of Georgia had stripped the Cherokee of their political sovereignty, and had banned all political activity in Georgia. As a result, the Cherokee capital was moved from New Echota, Georgia, to Red Clay, Tennessee. Here, at Red Clay, the Trail of Tears really began, for here the Cherokee learned that they had lost their mountains, streams, and valleys forever.
The site contains a natural landmark, the 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.