After being closed for two years, Hearst Castle in San Luis Obispo County began welcoming back guests on Wednesday.

The historic house museum and popular tourist attraction was closed in 2020, first because of the COVID-19 pandemic and then because of severe rainstorms that damaged the access road to the castle in early 2021.

The Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument is a sprawling estate with a large, ornate 115-room house, guesthouses, pools and eight acres of gardens.

The main house, called “La Casa Grande,” is home to a large art collection that includes Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities, as well as European paintings and sculptures.

The lavish building also has many historic carved and painted ceilings from Renaissance Italy and Spain.

The castle is also known for its Neptune Pool and ornate Roman Pool.

Hearst Castle is seen in an undated image posted to its Facebook page.
Hearst Castle is seen in an undated image posted to its Facebook page.

Vistors can go on different tours to explore the historic site, including the grand rooms tour that is meant to show visitors what it was like to be a guest on the estate. Tour reservations can be made online at HearstCastle.org or by calling 800-444-4445. 

Hearst Castle’s steep, curvy access road — which carries tour buses and up to 850,000 visitors to the castle per year — was damaged by a storm in 2021.

The upper portion of the road had to be reconstructed, and concrete retaining walls were installed, among other fixes.

The 10-month project cost about $13.7 million, according to California State Parks.

State Parks will celebrate the castle’s reopening and its delayed 100th anniversary with a new tour that takes a look at the life and career of Julia Morgan, the first certified female architect in California and the first American woman to head her own architectural office.

The tour will focus on rarely seen areas of Hearst Castle that highlight Morgan’s design skills, as well as photo displays of architectural drawings, family photos and personal items.

Tickets start at $30 for adults and $15 for children ages 5 to 12.