Hearst San Simeon State Park
Hearst San Simeon State Park is one of the oldest units of the California State Park System. The coastal bluffs and promontories of the scenic park offer unobstructed views of the ocean and rocky shore. The park includes the Santa Rosa Creek Natural Preserve, the San Simeon Natural Preserve and the Pa-nu Cultural Preserve which were established in 1990.
A 3.3 mile trail runs through parts of the San Simeon Natural Preserve and the Washburn Campground. The trail includes scenic overlooks, rest-stop benches and interpretive panels with information on wildlife and habitat. A portion of the trail along the seasonal wetland is wheelchair accessible.
- Santa Rosa Creek Preserve is an area which includes valuable riparian forests and coastal wetlands, that provide habitat for endangered Tidewater Goby.
- San Simeon Natural Preserve consists of vast wetlands, riparian areas, and several undisturbed native plant communities including unique mima mound topography. The Preserve is also the wintering site for monarch butterfly populations.
- The 13.7 acre Pa-nu Cultural Preserve contains the most significant archeological site within San Simeon State Park. The site has been dated to 5850 years before the present, and it contains significant evidence documenting prehistoric technology, subsistence practices and social organization over the course of several centuries.
A unique opportunity to view northern elephant seals is available at the Elephant Seal Boardwalk in Hearst San Simeon State Park. This vantage point provides an ideal location to view these marine mammals from a safe distance.
Located around Point Piedras Blancas, the elephant seal rookery extends along 6 miles of the shoreline. Elephant seals may be seen throughout most of the year. The largest populations and the most activity are during the months of late January, April and October. Although elephant seals spend most of their lives in the open ocean, they arrive at the rookery to give birth, breed, molt and rest from long migrations in the ocean in search of food.
The viewing areas are open to the public year round and are wheelchair accessible. Docents are on site to answer questions. No reservations are required and there is no fee. Restroom facilities are not available at this location. The nearest restrooms are 4 miles south of the viewing areas at William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach.
Location - Directions
San Simeon State Park is located 35 miles north of San Luis Obispo on Highway 1, and 5 miles south of the Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument Visitor Center. The community of Cambria is located 2 miles to the South and offers gas stations and grocery stores.
San Simeon Creek Campground
The San Simeon Creek Campground offers 115 campsites for tent camping or recreational vehicles. The maximum length for a RV is 35 feet. Each campsite has a fire ring and picnic table. There are currently no flush toilets or shower facilities in place. Chemical toilets are available. The dump station is currently open but is subject to closure as well. Pay phones are available. Firewood is for sale from the campground host.
Recreational activities include camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, surfing, beachcombing, bird watching and whale watching. The Junior Ranger Program is a regularly scheduled interpretive program for children. Interpretive walks of the San Simeon Trail may also be available.
This primitive campground is approximately 1 mile inland from the beach on a plateau overlooking the Santa Lucia mountains as well as the Pacific Ocean. Washburn campground can be accessed from the San Simeon Creek Campground entrance station. Facilities here include a fire ring and picnic table at each campsite.
Junior Ranger Program
This is a special program for kids that provides the chance to partake in a variety of fun and educational nature-oriented activities at Hearst San Simeon State Park. Parents should bring their kids to the Campfire Center at the San Simeon Creek Campground for fun regularly scheduled programs about the Central Coast.
Available Activities and Facilities at Hearst San Simeon State Park
Hike or Bike Campsites
RV Dump Station
Exhibits and Programs
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Restrooms / Showers
Drinking Water Available