Port Royal is an historic park and a day use park. Port Royal
State Park is a place of quiet natural beauty.
This park is a satellite of Dunbar Cave State Park.
Canoe Access - All boats must be able to be carried by hand
into the water. No trailers allowed on river access.
Boating Regulations (exit TDEC)
Events and Programs
Interpretive tours are available upon request. Please call
ahead to schedule.
The beautiful and scenic Red River and Sulphur Fork Creek drain
approximately 975 sq. miles of northern Tennessee. Angling on
both rivers is excellent. All persons fishing are required to
a valid Tennessee Fishing License. All laws, rules and regulations
pertaining to fishing apply.
Fishing Regulations (exit TDEC)
State Parks fishing policies
The Bluff Trail begins near the covered bridge site and extends
along the Red River. Wildflowers and birds are abundant along
this leisurely 1/4 mile trail.
Contact the park if you need more information.
An area rich in history, 26-acre Port Royal is the site of
one of Tennessee's earliest communities and trading centers,
being settled in 1782 and Founded in 1797. It was an important
site on the route to the West. An old Indian trail that lead
to the Ohio River had evolved into a major stagecoach route
during the early 1800's and had crossed the Red River at Port
Port Royal is designated as an official site on the Trail of
Tears National Historic Trail. The Trail of Tears commemorates
the forced removal of Native Americans from their homelands
in the Southeastern United States and the paths they traveled
westward in the 1830s. Diary records of the removal mentioned
Port Royal, the last stop before leaving Tennessee, as an encampment
site where the Cherokee stayed overnight or longer to re-supply,
grind corn and rest.
Both water and land routes crossing nine states comprise the
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, established by the U.S.
Congress in 1987 to acknowledge the significance of this tragic
event in the nation's history. The National Park Service works
with federal agencies, state and local governments, organizations,
tribes, and private individuals as partners to administer the
national historic trail.
Port Royal State Park is the second Tennessee State Park to
be named an official site on the Trail of Tears National Historic
Trail, joining Red Clay State Historic Park in Bradley County.
Other official sites in Tennessee include Audubon Acres, Brainerd
Mission Cemetery and the Chattanooga Regional History Museum
in Chattanooga and the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore.
For more information about the Trail of Tears National Historic
Trail, visit www.nps.gov/trte.
History of the Covered Bridge
The present bridge is a reconstruction of an earlier bridge.
Not much is known of the first bridge except that its remains
were washed away in the flood of 1866. The second bridge was
constructed in 1903. While workmen were removing the false support
timbers from this bridge, 200 feet collapsed, sending three
workers and one bystander into the Red River. One young man
died. The bridge was rebuilt the following year; it served the
area until 1955, when a new concrete and steel bridge was constructed.
The old covered bridge deteriorated until it crashed into the
river in 1972.
The State of Tennessee received the deed to 22-acres of land
at Port Royal in 1977 and rebuilt the present covered bridge.
Port Royal was dedicated as a State historic Area in October,
1978. On June 10, 1998, heavy rains and tornado activity caused
severe damage to the bridge. Much of the structure was destroyed
leaving approximately half of the bridge in place.
The Sulphur Fork Bridge was erected in 1890 by the Converse
Bridge Company, one of only two major bridge companies in Tennessee
specializing in metal truss designs. The bridge, an example
of the Pratt truss design, is significant due to its unusual
composition. The bridge is open only to foot travel.
There are four tables in the lower parking lot area, one is