How It Works


Several noteworthy boulders on Grandfather Mountain are identified by names, like Sphinx Rock and Split Rock.

While previously named boulders are not up for adoption, donors can bestow a rock formation with a name that will serve to transform an anonymous boulder into a geographic landmark.

“It’s an opportunity to be involved with Grandfather Mountain in a real meaningful way,” executive director Jesse Pope said. “It’s a club that connects our community with Grandfather Mountain, giving them a chance to become a very important part of the mountain, our foundation and our future.”

The mountain’s most memorable boulders are being catalogued, according to GPS coordinates, so that interested supporters can select their favorite to name. Those who join will be sent a photograph of the boulder (with the person who named it standing alongside, when possible), along with details about its geologic makeup and history.

Bailey Bartlett poses with her recently adopted boulder, aptly titled "Bailey's Holey Rock," during a Halloween visit to Grandfather Mountain.

Bailey Bartlett poses with her adopted boulder, aptly titled “Bailey’s Holey Rock,” during a Halloween visit to Grandfather Mountain. Photo by Jim Morton

Names will not be affixed to or near the boulders. Rather, the names, locations and photographs of these natural features and their keepers will be posted on the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation website ( for worldwide recognition, and a customized plaque will be sent to each sponsor.

In addition, Boulder Club members will be spotlighted in an exhibit in the Nature Museum.

Joining the Boulder Club costs a minimum of $5,000, all tax-deductible, and gifts can be earmarked for specific projects or funds.

“This could be a huge benefit to Grandfather Mountain,” Pope said, “allowing us to complete capital projects and educational programming that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.”

For instance, proceeds from memberships would help enhance educational exhibits in the Nature Museum and fund improvements for other areas of the park.

“It’s a great way to become part of the Grandfather Mountain legacy in a real tangible way,” Pope said.

Further, a lasting benefit of naming a boulder on Grandfather Mountain is the confidence that one’s “adoption” will never be shifted by a bulldozer or mangled by a rock crusher. Such contributions ensure that the foundation will protect those boulders — and many others — for all time.

“In other words, Boulder Club promises a legacy set in stone,” Pope said.

For more information on the Grandfather Mountain Boulder Club, call Jesse Pope at (828) 733-2013, or email


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  • Grandfather Mountain is my favorite place on Earth! Each time my family and I visit, we always have an amazing time. The feeling of peace I get as I look into what seems like forever off the mountain's top is unlike anything I've ever felt before.
    Mtn. City,TN
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