Highway 1 Construction Alert: Full overnight closures on Highway 1 from Gorda to Ragged Point will occur from Sunday nights at approximately 10 pm through Friday mornings at approximately 7 am. Work will begin on Monday night, June 22, 2015. The project is expected to be completed in winter 2016-2017. Motorists will encounter one-way traffic controls in these areas when full closures are not in effect. For more information go to www.dot.ca.gov/dist05/road_information.htm

In 1865, George Hearst purchased 40,000 acres of ranchland that included the mexican ranchos of Piedra Blanca, San Simeon and Santa Rosa. In 1919, his son, William Randolph Hearst, inherited the land from his mother, Phoebe Apperson Hearst. He eventually expanded it to encompass 250,000 acres.

Originally known as “Camp Hill,” its wilderness offered a magnificent campsite for family and friends, but Hearst envisioned more comfortable accommodations. His simple instructions to famed San Francisco architect Julia Morgan in 1919 were:

“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 that crowned his huge ranch “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 – an American castle that was destined to become one of the world’s greatest showplaces for his art collection.

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 unique.  They were the settings for lively parties, social gatherings, exercise, and recreation.
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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 vaults to protect Hearst’s collection.
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Hearst Airport
The original airstrip—located directly behind the Hearst Castle Visitor Center—was built in the 1920s.  It provided an easier, much faster way for W. R. Hearst’s architect and  famous guests to reach  his estate at San Simeon than trains and automobiles.
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The Zoo
Hearst Castle was once the site of the world’s largest private zoo.  Although no longer in operation, the “bear pits” can be seen on the way down the hilltop when visitors depart.  Descendants of Hearst’s zebras, aoudads, and Sambar deer can still be seen on Hearst ranchland.
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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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