Over 50 Years as a State Park! Hearst Castle® – W.R. Hearst's Castle on The Enchanted Hill®
Hearst Castle®, or “La Cuesta Encantada”® – “The Enchanted Hill”®
is located near San Simeon, CA in the Santa Lucia Mountains of San Luis Obispo County. This magnificent estate of 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways commands a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean and the hills and valleys of the Santa Lucias.
Over nearly three decades, William Randolph Hearst’s ranch evolved into Hearst Castle, one of the most magnificent private estates in America, the setting for legendary parties during the Golden Age of Hollywood. A tour of Hearst Castle today makes it easy to imagine the social lives of prominent people in pre-war America, a view we normally can only see in the movies.
Today, Hearst Castle is a State Historical Monument and one of the most popular visitor destinations in California. It rests on a beautiful mountain above San Simeon, California, which is the nearest town to The Enchanted Hill. It was through San Simeon that the materials to build Hearst Castle were transported almost 1,600 feet up the mountain to the site of the estate.
Hearst Castle is open daily for tours except on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Three distinct guided daytime tours are available, each several times a day. The Grand Rooms Tour is recommended for first time visitors, especially if combined with the large-format "Building the Dream" movie.
Evening tours are available in Spring and Fall on most Friday and Saturday nights. Evening tours include a Living History Program featuring docents in period dress.
Daytime tours take approximately 45 minutes for the guided hilltop tour with the of two 15-minute bus rides up and down the hill; evening tours about 2 hours and 10 minutes. Tours depart from the Visitors Center off Highway 1. The 15-minute, 5-mile trip up-the-hill features an audio program with background information.
For current Hearst Castle tours, ticket prices and reservations:
On-Line Booking Option with Complete Tour Descritpions
Within the U.S. call (800) 444-4445
Outside of the U.S. call (518) 218-5078
or book on-line at Hearst Castle Group tour reservations at (800) 401-4775.
Note: Tours cover a half-mile walk and include 150 – 400 stairs, so wear your walking shoes.
If travelling with someone who is handicapped, it may be possible to arrange a special tour - call to discuss.
“Building the Dream” Movie
Shown on a five-story screen with seven-channel surround sound and breathtaking aerial scenery, the large-format film “Hearst Castle -- Building the Dream” plays daily at the Giant Screen Theater at the Hearst Castle visitors center. Admission is included with the Experience Tour ticket, or you can buy tickets separately, with discounts available for large groups. For more information on the theater call (805) 927-6811 or on-line at Hearst Castle Theatre.
Open Daily – Located within the Hearst Castle Visitor’s Center:
Gift Shop featuring books, jewelry, souvenirs, castle replicas, & more. Café Snack Bar serves breakfast & lunch. Espresso Bar with flavored coffees & pastry items. Homemade Fudge is a specialty. You can also buy genuine grass-fed Hearst Ranch Beef.
Hearst Castle CA – Gateway to Southern Big Sur California
A short drive north of San Luis Obispo, Big Sur CA promises spectacular natural wonders you will find nowhere else in the world. Although most people think of Big Sur as somehow attached to Monterey and points north, it is easy to get to on California Hwy 1 for travelers from SLO. The easiest way to experience many Big Sur California wonders is to begin your Big Sur vacation in San Luis Obispo County.
Several prominent guides to Big Sur California hotels, lodging and attractions also note that the area is easily accessed from Hearst Castle, Cambria, San Simeon and other towns in San Luis Obispo County. For example, given that Hearst Castle and San Simeon CA are the southern entrance to Big Sur, it is only another 15 miles to Ragged Point, and about 60 miles to the heart of Big Sur camping and hiking, where both spaces and trails are abundant and unforgettable.
San Luis Obispo hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts are very convenient for day trips to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and Limekiln State Park for hikes and picnics. Follow this link to San Luis Obispo hotels--some of these hotels will also be able to help you arrange a Hearst Castel tour as part of your one-stop reservations system as well as give you local information about southern Big Sur. If you prefer to let the day evolve unplanned, you will enjoy the surprising beauty of the many vistas and trailheads along incredible CA Highway 1.
Just a few miles north of Hearst Castle is a special vista point. The adjoining beach is popular year 'round as a resting spot for the fascinating elephant seals. The special vista point has a walkway for "human" visitors, so you can get safely close to the giant mammals, without disturbing them.
If you are planning a Big Sur vacation, start your vacation in San Luis Obispo. If you are planning to visit California’s Natural Escape in San Luis Obispo, Big Sur California is a natural addition to your itinerary.
“Hearst Castle”, “Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument”, “La Cuesta Encantada”, and “The Enchanted Hill” are registered trademarks of Hearst Castle®/California State Parks. ©2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 , 2005 California State Parks, All rights reserved.