Terri Peak Hike Loop 2

Terri Peak Hike at Lake Perris

In This Guide
  • Video & Turn by Turn Directions For the Terri Peak Loop Hike
  • Trailhead Directions at Lake Perris State Recreation Area
  • Insider Tips for the Hike
Total Distance5 miles (8.1 km)
Hike Time2-3 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Moderate
Total Ascent (?)1,100 feet (335m)
Highest Elevation2,569 feet (783m)
Fees & PermitsPark Entry Fee
Dogs AllowedNo
Alerts & Closures (?)Lake Perris State Recreation Area
Park Phone951-940-5600

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

Terri Peak Loop Hike Directions 2
The museum is not always open, and when it’s not, you can’t use the parking lot there.

If the parking lot at the museum is closed, you can park nearby at the Fisherman’s Lot.

Terri Peak Alternate Parking
The Fisherman’s Lot is a 10 minute walk on the side of the road to the trailhead.

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.

Wildcat Small

My Goto Hiking Footwear: La Sportiva Wildcat
If you hike a lot or just want the best (but not the most durable) hiking footwear, the Wildcat trail runner is your best move.  It’s fast and light on trails, the sole gives me good grip off-trail or scrambling, and they dry quickly.
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Rei Flash 22 Yellow

Best Budget Day Pack: REI Co-op Flash 22 Pack
Bang for the buck, you can’t go wrong with this pack. It’s super-lightweight and big enough to carry everything for a day hike, including a water bladder. Every year REI improves this pack and after a few years, it’s really solid in every way. I pack mine in a carry-on when I travel to do hikes on trips. And if you’re into ultralight backpacking, this is also a solid choice.
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Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

Stay Safe Out of Cell Phone Range
If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Garmin InReach Mini (REI | Amazon | My Review) fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing.

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated October 2020.

My October 2020 Top Gear Picks

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 offset website expenses. 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.

Click Here To View Map

Download the Hike GPX FileView a Printable PDF Hike Map

Fenix 6 Pro

How are you going to navigate this hike?
To start, you should always have a paper map and compass. And it helps to print this guide out or save it on your phone. I highly recommend a GPS as well. I use the Garmin Fenix 6 smart GPS watch ( REI | Amazon | My Review) with maps (or the more affordable  Garmin Instinct). You can also use most smartphones. Check out my navigation recommendations and resources on my top gear picks page for options at all budget levels.

Elevation Profile

Terri Peak Hike Elevation

3d Map

Terri Peak Hike 3d Map
The hike climbs 1100 feet from the start and then loops back on a long downhill with a flat section at the end. Most of the trail is between Lake Perris and Terri Peak, so you get great views all the way.

Hike Brief

Jackrabbit At Terri Peak
You lookin’ at me? Keep your eyes open for black-tailed jackrabbits which are numerous on the hike.

Terri Peak Loop Hike Directions

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Terri Peak Hike Video

Watch This Video In 360/VR Why 360/VR Is Great

Turn by Turn Directions

Terri Peak Loop Hike Directions 3
Walk up to the parking lot at the museum if you didn’t park there.
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The small trailhead is at the far side of the parking lot, past the building.
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The trail is small but easy to follow. You start heading uphill from the gun.
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After a few minutes there’s a vista point off to the left. Check it out and then continue uphill.
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You’ll see a number of smaller use-trails branching off the main trail, many of them visiting overlooks. Stay on the bigger (and more well-trodden) main trail.
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You’ll pass through some boulder fields.
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There’s a false peak in the distance as you start the hike, but after clearing the boulder fields, you’ll start to see Terri Peak.
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This section has several side trails to overlooks. Stay on the main trail toward Terri Peak in the distance.
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There’s one short steep section at this part of the trail.
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After the steep section, the trail levels out and you’ll see Terri Peak in front of you.
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When you get very close to the peak, take the trail to the right to head to the summit area.
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Here’s the summit, covered in fog. The summit area is big with lots of viewpoints in all directions.
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This rock is the main spot where folks take shots with the lake in the background. From here you can see San Jacinto, San Gorgonio, Angeles National Forest, Saddleback Mountain, and south to the mountains around San Diego. Or just fog…
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Here’s the view of Lake Perris without the fog. The small island in the lake is Alessandro Island, which has a short hiking trail on it.
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From the summit, look for the wide trail to the north and head downhill. From here on out you’ll be sharing the trail with mountain bikes.
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The trail winds over a plateau on the top of the mountain.
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When the trail winds around to the east, continue right, avoiding any smaller use-trails.
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The trail crests a small rise and then has sweeping views of Moreno Valley to the north.
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The trail winds back toward Lake Perris as you continue to descend.
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When you get to the junction, go straight through.
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After the last intersection the trail splits, stay left. To the right are overlooks.
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Lake Perris and Alessandro Island come into view as the trail heads southeast.
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There’s a small spit where you can go either way.
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And at the top of the rise after the split, stay straight.
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Soon you’ll get to a dirt road. Make the left onto the road.
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After a short way, look for the cutoff trail to the right.
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Then bear right onto the road into the horse campground.
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Go through the horse campground and then stay left on the road through the camp.
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At the end of the campground look for the trail off to the right.
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The trail is nice and flat as it heads back to the start along the lake. You’ll have nice lake views as you cruise back.
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When the trail comes to the road, cross over.
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Follow the trail along the other side of the road.
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Eventually the trail bends to the left as it comes to another road.
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And then when you reach the road, it’s almost done. Head up the road to the museum if you parked there (10 min walk), or else head down the path on the left back to the Fisherman’s Lot.

Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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