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Hearst Castle will reopen to visitors May 11. Here’s what you can expect

hearst castle road.jpg
California State Parks
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Road repairs being completed at Hearst Castle after damage caused by the winter storm in early 2021.

After two years of closure, Hearst Castle will reopen its doors to the public.

The COVID-19 pandemic paired with reconstruction on the castle’s access road have kept the state historical monument shuttered since March 2020.

But now, with a planned reopening date of May 11, visitors will be able to schedule tours of the castle once again.

“We’re excited — plain and simple. This is a jewel of California and of the State Parks system,” said State Parks San Luis Obispo Coast District Superintendent Dan Falat.

Falat said more than two miles of the castle road will boast much needed improvements upon reopening.

hearst castle road repairs.jpg
California State Parks
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More road repairs being completed at Hearst Castle during the two year closure.

“We also had some severe storm events which unfortunately created some damage to the upper portions of our road which leads from the visitor center to the castle," Falat said. "Since July of 2021, we have had crews working on that road to repair it.”
The access road channels up to 850,000 visitors to the castle each year. Over a ten-month construction period, the asphalt was resurfaced, new concrete retaining walls were installed and the water culverts were replaced and enlarged to withstand storms.

The project is in its last phase now with an estimated total cost of nearly $14 million.

Falat said other projects at Hearst Castle, like the carillon bell restoration, will continue alongside visitors.

“We have begun work on assessing the roof at the Roman pool, some other artifacts, some other parts of the collection,” Falat said.

He said masks will be required on the bus to and from the castle, per state safety requirements.

To celebrate the castle’s reopening, a new tour will be offered called The Julia Morgan Tour. Morgan was one of the castle’s architects and the tour will focus on her life and some rarely-seen areas of the castle.

General tickets to the castle start at $30 and tour reservations are strongly recommended. Starting March 31, reservations can be made online at hearstcastle.org or by calling (800) 444-4445.

Corrected: March 24, 2022 at 5:44 PM PDT
A previous version of this story said tickets are $6, but according to the castle's website, they start at $30. The text and audio have been updated.
Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020 and now reports daily for KCBX News. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.
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