In 1865, George Hearst, a wealthy miner, purchased 40,000-acres of ranchland that included the Mexican Ranchos of Piedras Blancas, San Simeon and Santa Rosa. In 1919, his only son, William Randolph Hearst, inherited the land from his mother, Phoebe Apperson Hearst. By then the ranch had grown to encompass 250,000 acres. Originally known as "Camp Hill," its wilderness offered a place for family members and friends to "rough it" on camping trips. Despite elaborate arrangements with separate sleeping and dining tents, Hearst envisioned more comfortable accommodations. His simple instructions to famed San Francisco architect Julia Morgan in 1919: "Miss Morgan, we are tired of camping out in the open at the ranch in San Simeon and I would like to build a little something." Hearst and Morgan's collaboration was destined to become one of the world's greatest showplaces. As they were planning and constructing his dream home, Hearst renamed the rocky perch from which it rose "La Cuesta Encantada" – The Enchanted Hill.
Download the Hearst Castle mobile app to:
- Learn about William Randolph Hearst, Julia Morgan, and other personalities who figure in the Castle’s history
- Discover the Neptune Pool, private air strip, hidden dressing rooms, and much more
- Listen to narration and read text by Hearst Castle historian Victoria Kastner
- View beautiful images by Hearst Castle photographer Victoria Garagliano
Hearst Castle offers six tours:
Grand Rooms Tour
Gather in the grand social rooms of Casa Grande – the largest house at Hearst Castle – to experience what it was like to be a guest at this hilltop retreat. Recommended for first-time visitors, this tour also has the fewest stairs to climb.
Upstairs Suites Tour
Explore the upper floors of Casa Grande – the formal name for the main house – and ascend its winding staircases to see how media mogul William Randolph Hearst and his esteemed guests lived at the Castle.
Cottages & Kitchen Tour
Discover two very different parts of this fascinating historic attraction: some of the most personal rooms of the property and some of its most practical ones, including Hearst's beloved Casa del Mar and the industrial-sized kitchen.
Offered every spring and fall, the Evening Tour allows visitors to travel back in time and view the historic California mansion in the twilight and evening hours. Guests and staff dress in 1930s period attire and meander about the Castle as part of the Living History Program.
Accessibly Designed Grand Rooms Tour
This tour is wheelchair accessible and is also designed for visitors who have difficulty climbing up and down stairs , or who cannot stand or walk for lengths of time. The Accessible Designed Grand Rooms Tour visits the estate's most opulent social gathering rooms to reveal what it was like to be a guest at The Enchanted Hill – known today as Hearst Castle.
Accessibly Designed Evening Tour
This tour is wheelchair accessible and is also designed for visitoris who have difficulty climbing up and down stairs, or who cannot stand or walk for lengths of time. The Accessibly Designed Evening Tour takes guests back in time every spring and fall, as Living History Docents in 1930s clothing appear along the tour route, adding life once again to the magnificent surroundings seen on tour.
The Art of San Simeon
For a limited time Hearst Castle will be offering a new tour option for visitors, a special semi-private, art-focused tour begins Saturday, September 17, 2016 and continues through June 30, 2017.
Hearst Castle is world-renowned for the celebrities of the 1920s and 30s who enjoyed its magnificence and today it is the only California State Park that is an art museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. On this new two-hour semi-private tour your knowledgeable guide will focus on Hearst and how he acquired his remarkable paintings, tapestries, sculptures, antiquities, and furniture. In groups limited to eight participants, you will see areas that combine the itineraries of the four daytime tours, while continuing to areas in the Castle that have never before been included. Through this immersive experience, you will see Mr. Hearst’s estate just as he would have liked you to see it: as “a museum of the best things that [he could] secure.”
The cost of this semi-private tour is $100 per person with a capacity of eight people per tour. From September 17 through October 31, 2016 and from May 1 through June 30, 2017, the tour will be offered twice daily, at 10:00 a.m. and at 2:00 p.m. From November 1, 2016 through April 30, 2017 the tour will be offered once daily, at 2:00 p.m.. At the conclusion of the tour, visitors are able to stroll the gardens and terraces at their leisure.
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