Adventure Sunday: Red Clay State Park

Living in Chattanooga, we are surrounded by a crazy amount of beauty in the great outdoors. In an attempt to take advantage of at least a sliver, we're trying to explore new places each Sunday (the one day a week we're all together with no other commitments).

Last weekend, we started off our spring Adventure Sundays by visiting Red Clay State Park in Cleveland, TN. Having young children, I'm always on the lookout for places that are not too difficult for them and this place fit the bill perfectly.

Adventure Highlights

  • Slow, scenic drive with lots of cows, horses and one snake crossing the road
  • Far enough out to not be crowded
  • One short trail that was paved
  • Another trail that's only 1.7 miles & a loop (didn't hike it this time)
  • Lots of open space for kids to run and people to picnic
  • Main feature (Blue Hole Spring) was close to the beginning
  • Stream from the Blue Hole for the kids to play in

Another interesting thing about Red Clay is the history of the location. According the Tennessee State Parks website, "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." There are replica structures on the grounds with informative signs by them as well as an interpretive facility (which was closed on Sunday when we visited), but I would recommend doing your own research on Red Clay's history as well as the history of the Indian Removal Act in order to properly convey the gravity of it all to your kids in an appropriate way.

Adventure Rating

My kids gave Red Clay a huge thumbs up. We spent most of our time playing in the stream that flows from the Blue Hole. We'll definitely be back to hike the loop and play in the water again.

Adventure Checklist

Here's a handy checklist of things to remember if you're going to visit Red Clay State Park:

  • Pack lots of snacks & water (maybe even bring a picnic)
  • Bring sunscreen
  • Plan to hike the loop first, then cool off playing in the stream
  • Bring water shoes & a towel for playing in the stream

I chose Red Clay State Park for this Adventure Sunday thanks to the thorough review by Rodger on Roots Rated. I'll definitely be using it to plan our future Adventure Sundays.