Tennessee Historic Parks

Historic Parks in Tennessee 

Chattanooga National Military Park

In 1863, Union and Confederate forces fought for control of Chattanooga, the gateway to the Deep South. The Confederate’s were victorious at nearby Chickamauga in September, but renewed fighting in Chattanooga in November and gave Union troops final control. Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, the nation’s first, was created in 1890 to preserve and commemorate these battlefields.

Cumberland Gap National Park

The story of the first doorway to the west is commemorated at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, located where the borders of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia meet. Carved by wind and water, Cumberland Gap forms a major break in the formidable Appalachian Mountain chain. First used by large game animals in their migratory journeys and followed by American Indians, the Cumberland Gap was the first and best avenue for settlement of the interior of this nation. From 1775 to 1810, the Gap's heyday, between 200,000 and 300,000 men, women, and children crossed the Gap into the unknown land of Kentucky. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is a wonderful tapestry of historical, cultural, and natural resources woven intricately together. Visitation peaks in July and in October when the mountains come alive with brilliant fall foliage. The park is located in northeast Tennessee.

Red Clay State Historic Park

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 park encompasses 263-acres of narrow valleys formerly used as cotton and pasture land.  There are also forested ridges that average 200 feet or more above the valley floor. 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. Behind the amphitheatre near the picnic area is an entrance to a 1.7 mile loop trail which goes to the Overlook Tower. The trail is a moderate grade and is well marked. A short nature trail begins at the spring and ends at the farmstead.

Shiloh National Military Park

Established in 1894 to commemorate the scene of the first majoy battle in the Western theatre of the Civil War, Shiloh National Military Park is considered one of the best preserved battlefields in the nation. Located in Hardin County, the park has within its boundaries the Shiloh National Cemetery along with the well preserved prehistoric Indian mounds that are listed as a historic landmark. The park offers a host of activities that give visitors a unique look at civilian life in and around Pittsburg Landing in the 1860s, artillery, cavalry tactical demonstrations and a glimpse of the military camp life shared by thousands of Civil War soldiers.

For a complete list of Tennessee’s Historic Parks, visit

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