Virtual Guidebook to El Camino Real
The Hearst Hacienda
Fort Hunter Liggett in the Jolon Valley California

William Randolph Hearst acquired an immense amount of land in Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties in the early years of the twentieth century. In 1929 he built a comfortable ranch headquarters and hunting lodge near Mission San Antonio. It was designed by Julia Morgan, who would later create Hearst's amazing "castle" across the mountains at San Simeon.

In 1940 Hearst had to give up much of his land for back taxes, and this part of his ranch became Fort Hunter-Liggett, which used the Hacienda as an officers club. When the military decided the base was not essential to their needs in 1999, there was discussion about transferring it to either the state or national park system. Unfortunately, the Army came up with a new plan for Hunter-Liggett, which has recently seen a lot of new construction, and the Hacienda is now within the secure perimeter fence.

The Hacienda still operates as a bed and breakfast, though a permit must be obtained from the military to enter the base.


Spring wildflowers near the Hearst Ranch Hacienda

(April 27, 2003)


(April 30, 2005)

Next Locality: Mission San Antonio de Padua - Inside