Terri Peak Hike at Lake Perris
|In This Guide|
|Total Distance (?)||5 miles (8.1 km)|
|Hike Time||2-3 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||1,100 feet (335m)|
|Highest Elevation||2,569 feet (783m)|
|Fees & Permits||Park Entry Fee|
|Alerts & Closures (?)||Lake Perris State Recreation Area|
The hike to Terri Peak, which towers over Lake Perris and offers panoramic views, is a hidden gem. It’s located in Lake Perris State Recreation Area, a park noted more for water sports than hiking. The trail to Terri Peak climbs through boulders and offers plenty of gradual sections to catch your breath and take in the views. You can either hike to the top and back, or you can do the full loop for even more views.
Getting to the Terri Peak Trailhead
There are a few ways to hike to Terri Peak, and this guide will show you the loop hike which I find the most beautiful. You’ll do most of the hike between the lake and the mountain, which offers great views going up and down.
There is an entry fee for the park unless you have a California State Parks Pass.
The trailhead is next to the Ya’i Heki’ Regional Indian Museum (pronounced ya-hee eh-key and meaning “home of the wind” in Cahuilla). You can use this trailhead address:
17801 Lake Perris Dr, Perris, CA 92571
If the parking lot at the museum is closed, you can park nearby at the Fisherman’s Lot.
There are bathrooms at both parking lots.
Gear for the Hike
This entire hike is exposed, so when the sun is out, it can be brutal. Bring sun protection and lots of water (at least 1.5L). I hike this with light hiking gear, but you can certainly get away with fitness clothes.
Better Than a Selfie Stick
Part of the fun of a hike is taking pictures, and a flexible JOBY smartphone tripod takes it to the next level. You can use it as a selfie stick, as a regular tripod, but more importantly, as a flexible tripod that can attach to tree branches and other objects. It’s not expensive, and it’s something you can use when not hiking too.
Your Biggest Asset If You Get Lost
If something goes wrong and you get lost, sprain your ankle, or get delayed, you might be caught out after dark. And one of the top items that search and rescue departments recommend you carry is a light. Now smartphones have lights, but they drain the battery quickly. It’s better to invest in an expensive yet high-quality headlamp like the Black Diamond Astro 250. It takes AAA batteries, can last 200 hours, and has an emergency strobe. Carry it with you off the trail to use in emergencies as well.
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Get It Here
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated October 2021.
No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps keep the website ad and promotion free. There is no cost to you.
Terri Peak Loop Trail Maps
The first part of the hike is on small trails that, for the most part, are easy to follow. There are small, unmarked use-trails that branch off at points, but I’ve noted most of them in the directions below. After the peak you’ll descend on larger trails that are shared by mountain bikes. The last part of of the loop ends at a road. If you’ve parked at the museum, there’s a 5 minute walk in the dirt along the side of the road. If you parked at the Fisherman’s Lot, you walk on the paved pedestrian path to the start.
Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File
If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.
How Are You Going to Navigate This Hike?
If you are a hardcore hiker and/or hike in extreme conditions, I recommend getting a dedicated GPS like a GPSMAP 66sr or 66i, or a wrist-based GPS with maps like the Garmin Fenix 6. If you only hike in fair weather and a touchscreen is fine, or just want a solid tool, I highly recommend downloading the smartphone app, Gaia GPS. It’s a piece of cake to use and very powerful, just make sure your phone is in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.
- At the beginning of the hike there’s an interpretive display warning you about mountain lions. Don’t be scared. According to the rangers they get about a dozen reports of a mountain lion sighting each year, most of which are probably a bobcat (harmless to humans) that lives around Terri Peak. Expect to see rabbits, squirrels, lizards, and hawks.
- Lake Perris is a humanmade lake, finished in 1973, and part of the California State Water Project. It’s a popular spot for waterskiing and fishing, and even has an artifactual tire reef habitat. Scientists determined that anything over a 7.5 magnitude earthquake (big) will break the 2-mile long dam.
- Don’t drink the water from the lake, even if filtered. It has high mercury and toxin levels.
- Terri Peak (at 2569 ft) is not the highest point in the park, but it is the highest point with a trail to it. The highest point is nearby Mt Russell at 2704 ft.
- In the winter this hike is lush and green. In the summer and fall it’s dry and yellow. The late winter and early spring is a good time to see wildflowers and California Poppies.
- The Ya’i Heki’ Regional Indian Museum is essentially the visitor’s center for the Lake Perris State Recreation Area, and is worth a visit if open. From the big glass windows inside you can see the lake and Mt San Jacinto.
- If you want to make a day of it, do the hike first thing in the morning, then take a bike ride around the lake (9 miles and flat), and then have a picnic lunch.
Terri Peak Loop Hike Directions
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Terri Peak Hike Video
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Turn by Turn Directions
This guide last updated on January 18, 2021. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.
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