Hearst Castle, the Highway 1 landmark and iconic one-time home to legendary publisher William Randolph Hearst, also known as “Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument,” will re-open to the public May 11, it was announced this week.
When a January 2021 storm brought 20 inches of rain to northern San Luis Obispo County, doors were blown down, and the water damage to the home was extensive.
The 2.25 mile road from the parking lot off Highway 1 to the home itself took a lot of the damage, and culvert failures were discovered during subsequent storm assessments. California State Park staff from both the local district and headquarters began working with State Park consultants and the Hearst Corporation to repair or replace all 27 culverts along the 2.25-mile, upper one-way section of Hearst Castle Road.
The steep, curvy road itself rises 1,650 feet over a distance of 5 miles.
Over the course of the 10-month access road project, the upper section was reconstructed and re-engineered. Old asphalt was removed and recycled into a thicker, stronger new roadway through a process known as full-depth reclamation.
New concrete retaining walls were installed and some historic stone retaining walls were restored by hand. The storm- damaged, clay pipe culverts dating from the 1920s were replaced and enlarged to withstand modern storm systems such as the atmospheric rivers that occurred in 2021.
“Hearst Castle is a Central Coast gem and one of the many drivers behind our growing tourism economy,” stated Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham. “I am glad to hear that it will be reopening in time for the summer travel season and look forward to visiting again soon.”
The reopening of the castle and the delayed 100th anniversary of its construction will be celebrated with a new tour entitled The Julie Morgan Tour, which will take an in-depth look at the life and career of the woman who designed the legendary home, focusing on rarely seen areas of Hearst Castle and photographic displays of architectural drawings, family photos, and personal items.
The ticket pricing structure for Hearst Castle has also been overhauled.
The ticket price will now have all fees integrated into one total price which will reduce the overall cost to visitors, by $3 to $6 per ticket.
Tour reservations are strongly recommended and beginning March 31, reservations can be made online at HearstCastle.org or by calling (800) 444-4445.
More information about Hearst Castle is available at parks.ca.gov/HearstCastle.