Hearst San Simeon State Park

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Hearst San Simeon State Park
Hearst san simeon state park.jpg
Map showing the location of Hearst San Simeon State Park
Map showing the location of Hearst San Simeon State Park
Location San Luis Obispo County, California, USA
Nearest city San Simeon, California
Coordinates 35°35′01″N 121°07′18″W / 35.58361°N 121.12167°W / 35.58361; -121.12167Coordinates: 35°35′01″N 121°07′18″W / 35.58361°N 121.12167°W / 35.58361; -121.12167
Area 2,309 acres (934 ha)
Established 1932
Governing body California Department of Parks and Recreation
Tidepool at North Moonstone beach, in the southern part of the State Park. Giant Green anemones with black tegula snails.

Hearst San Simeon State Park is a state park of California, USA, preserving rocky coast and rare habitats. It is located between Cambria and San Simeon. The 3,409-acre (1,380 ha) park was first established in 1932.[1] 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 (5.3 km) 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 zones, and several undisturbed native plant communities including unique mima mound topography. The Preserve is also the wintering site for monarch butterfly populations.

In 2005 an additional 1,100 acres (445 ha) of coastal lands were added to the state park following an easement agreement and property exchange with the neighboring Hearst Ranch.[2]


The 13.7-acre (55,000 m2) Pa-nu Cultural Preserve contains the most significant archeological site within Hearst 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.

Prehistorically this entire general area of the central coast was inhabited by the Chumash people, who settled the coastal San Luis Obispo area approximately 10,000 to 11,000 BCE, including a large village to the south at Morro Creek.[3]

Proposed for closure[edit]

The park was one of several state parks threatened with closure in 2008. After the 2009 California state special elections, in which voters turned down a package of propositions dealing with the California budget crisis, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed the temporary closure (for at least 2 years) of 220 parks.[4] The closures were ultimately avoided by cutting hours and maintenance system-wide.[5]

Nearby protected areas[edit]

Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument contains Hearst Castle. Cambria State Marine Conservation Area and White Rock (Cambria) State Marine Conservation Area are marine protected areas offshore from San Simeon campground. Nearby ocean waters are also a part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, where visitors can learn more at the Coastal Discovery Center at San Simeon Bay, located at Hearst Beach. A large elephant seal rookery is found on many beaches of Hearst San Simeon State Park. Adjacent to the northern stretches of the park are the Piedras Blancas State Marine Reserve, and the Piedras Blancas Light Station.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "California State Park System Statistical Report: Fiscal Year 2009/10" (PDF). California State Parks. p. 30. Retrieved 2012-03-29. 
  2. ^ "Hearst Ranch Conservation Plan". California Resources Agency. Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  3. ^ Hogan, C. Michael (2008-02-25). "Morro Creek". The Megalithic Portal. Retrieved 2012-03-29. 
  4. ^ Moore, Michael (2009-05-29). "Henry Coe on governor's list of parks to close". The Gilroy Dispatch (Gilroy, Calif.). Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  5. ^ McGreevy, Patrick; Louis Sahagun (2009-09-26). "State parks to stay open, but with cuts in hours, staffing". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, Calif.). Retrieved 2011-12-30. 

External links[edit]