Hearst San Simeon State Monument, commonly called Hearst Castle, was the vacation home of former newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. This magnificent hilltop estate designed by Julia Morgan includes a 115-room main house, several guesthouses and pools, and eight acres of terraced gardens. It is located on Highway One about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Eighty percent of all public tours are booked in advance so all visitors are encouraged to make advance reservations. Reservations, including reservations for accessibly designed tours, can be made by calling (800) 444-4445 or (866) 712-2286 or online at www.hearstcastle.org. See the Accessibly Designed Tours link at this website for critical details on accessible tours. TDD, 800-274-7275.
Assistive listening devices, wheelchairs, a list of touchable artifacts, and Braille transcripts are available upon request. Sign language interpreters may be arranged with advance notice. Two accessibly designed tours of the hilltop estate are described below.
Accessible parking is available. Routes of travel to the ticket area are accessible. Bus transportation from the Visitors Center to the castle includes seating for two wheelchairs.
The ticket and information area is accessible, as is the exhibit building and gallery. Exhibits are generally accessibly designed. Assistance is available in the gift shop, snack bar, and other concessions to reach some items. Restrooms throughout the area are accessible.
Hearst Castle Theater
Accessible wheelchair areas with companion seating, assistive listening devices and accessible restrooms are available. Presentations with captions are available upon request.
Accessible Tour Programs
Tours designed to accommodate visitors with mobility disabilities or for those who have difficulty standing or walking for lengths of time are described below. Visitors may use their own wheelchairs providing the chairs can enter doorways 28 inches wide. Visitors may also borrow wheelchairs at no extra charge. A specially equipped bus takes visitors to the historic hilltop estate to meet the guide for the tour. Once on the hilltop, visitors are transported between terraces via electric carts that can hold up to four persons and up to two wheelchairs per accessible tour. Three to six accessible tours are offered daily, and are very popular. Advance reservations are highly recommended. Larger groups should make advance arrangements. Please use the hearstcastle.com website link in Overview above for additional details on wheelchair tours.
Grand Rooms Tour – Accessibly Designed
This tour takes visitors into the ground floor rooms of the main house, Casa Grande. Rooms included in this tour are the Assembly Room, the Billiard Room, the Refectory dining room, and the Theater. After the guided portion of this tour, visitors have the option to remain on the hilltop and take a self-guided tour though the lush grounds and gardens. Staff is available to transport visitors back the bus departure area.
Evening Tour – Accessibly Designed
Evening tours provide visitors the opportunity to experience the castle as it glitters against the evening sky. This tour includes entry into one of the accessible floors of the guest house, Casa del Mar as well as several rooms in the main house Casa Grande. This tour also takes visitors through the historic gardens and the spectacular indoor Roman Pool. Please see www.hearstcastle.org for evening tour schedules.
Definitions & Terms
Meets all or most of the current accessibility standards; most visitors with disabilities will not need assistance.
Meets many current codes and has few barriers, but some visitors with disabilities may need assistance.
Meets some current codes but has some barriers; many visitors with disabilities may require assistance.
Describes facilities that have been set aside and usually signed or “designated” accessible because they met accessibility codes when built. Such facilities may vary from newer suggested guidelines in specified ways, and improvements may be planned or ongoing. Minor variations from guidelines are not usually described. This term is often used for parking spaces that are reserved for visitors with disabilities even though there may be minor issues with slope, signage, or size.