California State Parks has reopened Hearst Castle as of May 11, after 2 years of closures due to the pandemic and rainstorm damage. The famous estate in San Simeon has been a cornerstone of California history since 1919, and its reopening is sure to bring visitors from far and wide to once again marvel at its stunning landscape, glistening pools, and ornate interior décor.
The world-renowned castle closed when the pandemic hit in March 2020. When a powerful storm hit in January 2021, it destroyed the access road and clay pipe culverts dating back to the 1920s. A $13.7M renovation project kept the castle closed for another 10 months as State Parks worked to replace all of the culverts, repave the road, install new concrete retaining walls, and restore the historic stone walls by hand.
State Parks has also reduced ticket prices by about $3-6 each after consolidating booking fees into the tour prices. Acording to the LA Times, the cheapest tour will now start at $30, rather than the previous $25 plus $8 booking fee.
The delayed 100th anniversary of the castle’s construction also brings a new Julia Morgan Tour in honor of the castle’s famous architect. As the first certified female architect in California, Morgan left a profound legacy behind which can be seen in many parts of the estate. The new tour takes visitors through rarely seen parts of the castle, as well as Morgan’s personal items, photographic displays, architectural drawings, and much more.
William Randolph Hearst collaborated with Julia Morgan to design and construct the famous castle on top of a hill in San Simeon between 1919 and 1947. The main house or “La Casa Grande” has 165 rooms housing Hearst’s massive art collection, which includes all manner of artifacts from countless time periods and countries. The rest of the sprawling estate includes guest houses, several spectacular pools, and stunning gardens covering 123 acres. Hearst hosted many famous guests over the decades including the likes of Winston Churchill, President Calvin Coolidge, and Charlie Chaplin.
“Hearst Castle is a state treasure and we are thrilled to reopen this wonder to the public to enjoy in a safe and responsible manner,” said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero. “We are confident that these once-in-a-lifetime repairs and improvements to the road facility will serve countless generations to come.”
Visitors can reserve tours at Hearst Castle at HearstCastle.org or by calling (800) 444-4445.
The estate is located at 750 Hearst Castle Rd in San Simeon.