Hearst Castle® is part of the California State Parks system and is open to the public for tours. The mission of the California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of visitors and to protect its valuable resources for current and future generations.

Tour Rules

Touching works of art and historic architectural elements – indoors and outdoors – is prohibited.  To ensure the enjoyment and safety of visitors and to provide for the preservation of the historic buildings, works of art, and gardens, the following rules apply:

1. Photography
Personal photography is permitted inside and outside the buildings for personal enjoyment. Tripods are not allowed but monopods may be used.  Flash photography is permitted outside only. Commercial photography or filming at Hearst Castle requires a film permit and the prior approval of the Museum Director.

2. Strollers & Carriers
Because of the number of stairs and terraces, strollers are not permitted on the tours. Child-carrier backpacks and front-packs are allowed. These are available on loan at the Ranger’s Office at the Visitor Center on a first-come first-serve basis for no additional charge.

3. Food & Beverages
To protect the historic estate, food and beverages are not permitted on the hilltop, with the exception of bottled water.

4. Smoke-Free Policy
Smoking is prohibited in the buses, the Visitor Center, and on all areas on the hilltop , including the interiors and exteriors of the historic buildings. 

5. Personal Belongings
In order to ensure visitor safety and to protect the historic estate, framed backpacks are not permitted. In addition, items such as skateboards, roller shoes and bicycles are not permitted. Items such as paint, crayons, chalk and sketch charcoal are also not permitted on the hilltop.

6. Clothing
Visitors must wear shoes and appropriate clothing, including shirts, in order to be permitted to board the buses and take tours. The environmental conditions on the hilltop can change, so it is advisable to be prepared for changing weather.

7. Walking the Grounds
Guides are located throughout the estate to answer questions, and visitors are provided with maps to assist in touring the grounds. Areas open to the public will also be identified with signs and barriers to ensure visitor safety. Climbing on trees and sculptures is not allowed.  Picking fruit and flowers is prohibited.

8. Cell Phones
Cell phones must be turned off or set to the silent/vibrate mode while on tour.  In order to prevent disruption to other visitors, the use of cell phones is prohibited during tours. Cell phones may be used to take photographs on tour without flash inside the buildings. Please see the photo and film guidelines for more information. Cell phones may be used outside at the end of the guided tours for photographs, internet access and for the Hearst Castle App.

9. Pets & Service Animals
Pets are not permitted on tours. The only animals that are permitted on the hilltop estate are service animals.

10. Accessibility & Wheelchairs
The tour program includes the Accessibly Designed Grand Rooms Tour and the Accessibly Designed Evening Tour for visitors who have difficulty with climbing stairs, standing or walking for periods of time. Wheelchairs and self-propelled chairs can be accommodated up to a maximum of 28 inches wide and 40 inches in depth. We do provide wheelchairs for visitors at no additional charge. Rolling oxygen carts cannot be used due to the stairs and other space limitations in the historic buildings. We also offer tours for hearing-impaired visitors.  For reservations, please call (866) 712-2286 or the TDD line at (800) 274-7275.

11. Fountains & Pools
The fountains and pools are part of the historic elements of the estate. Visitors are not permitted to contact the water by wading, jumping or placing any part of their body into the pools or fountains.

Following these rules will ensure the maximum enjoyment and safety for all visitors, and protect the natural and cultural resources for all. Prepare for your visit by taking a virtual tour or reserving your tickets today.