In 1865, George Hearst 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, but 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 renamed the hilltop on which his beloved house rested “La Cuesta Encantada” – The Enchanted Hill. By 1947, Hearst and Morgan had created an estate of 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways, setting the stage for an American Castle that was destined to become one of the world’s greatest showplaces.

Historic Areas and Locations at the Castle


Hearst Castle Pools
Two pools can be found at Hearst Castle: the Neptune Pool and the Roman Pool. Each one is truly a sight to behold, and set the stage for lively parties and social gatherings.
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Wine Cellar
Filled with the finest wine money could buy, the Wine Cellar was constructed during the Prohibition Era, and featured gates to protect Hearst’s collection.
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Hearst Airport
The original airstrip—located directly behind the Hearst Castle Visitor Center—was an easy way for W. R. Hearst’s famous Hollywood guests to get to and from this Castle in San Simeon.
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The Zoo
Although no longer in operation, Hearst Castle was once the site for the world’s largest private zoo, holding exotic animals from every continent.
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The Gardens of Hearst Castle
Discover the lush, serene gardens that were planned and developed as carefully as other parts of the Castle were by Hearst and Morgan.
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