Jade Cove is a small section of the Big Sur coastline popular among rock collectors and enthusiasts. A short but steep trail leads down into the cove where cliffs of green rock tower over visitors. Other short trails run along the bluffs where views of the coast and patches of wildflowers can be found.
Some people come to jade cove to view the unique green cliff sides and stroll along the bluffs, while others come specifically to hunt for jade. Two different metamorphic rocks are collectively referred to as jade, despite being composed of separate minerals. Nephrite and jadeite are the two rock types referred to as jade, and it wasn't until 1863 that they were actually differentiated from one another because they are so similar in appearance. Several rare types of jade can be found in Big Sur, including botryoidal jade, an interesting bubbly appearing rock.
Collectors travel from all over to search for jade in Big Sur. Most of the prized jade is hidden under the ocean and thus only accessible by diving, but occasionally waves can drag up pieces and deposit them on the shore. Therefore the best time to jade hunt here is during very low tides or after large swells; just be mindful of large incoming waves. Collecting jade can be fun and exciting, but local laws should be obeyed in order to preserve Jade Cove. Signage in the area prohibits any collecting of material above the mean tide line and excavating of any kind.