Perris Is Always a Good Idea

Bike Around Lake Perris in the Inland Empire

Two bikers looking at the lake at Lake Perris State Recreational Area

Beaches and oases in the Inland Empire? The magic place is Perris. Lake Perris State Recreational Area is nestled within the boulder-speckled hills between Perris and Moreno Valley. Experience the full scope of this lake and make beach stops along by way by cycling the 9-mile Lake Perris Loop.

Two people on bikes stopping to look at the lake scenery at Lake Perris in Riverside

Two bikers on the paved bike path at Lake Perris State Recreational Area in the Inland Empire

Two people at a picnic table overlooking a beach at Lake Perris State Recreational Area in the Inland Empire

Start your pedal from the Perris Beach parking area (the bike trail intersects the driving entrance to the lot). Head west for about half a mile, then make a sharp left to ride along the top of the dam for two miles. The pavement smooths out and you’ll keep to your left to ride briefly uphill for about 100 feet of elevation past Big Rock Bay. With the lake beaming and flanked by large rock faces, this section lives up to its name.

Bikers along the lakeside at Lake Perris State Recreational Area

Coast downhill past Bernasconi Beach and then pedal slightly up again to a cross-marked crest of another hill. At about halfway take a break at the Paradise Cove picnic area under the shade of the willow trees. Continue a short distance up another hill for the best panoramic view of the lake and surrounding hills. Mount San Gorgonio is prominent in the distance.

Two bike riders cycling at Lake Perris State Recreational Area

Two cyclists at Lake Perris State Recreational Area

Easily cruise the rest of the way through the remaining beaches and picnic areas back to Perris Beach. Set the bikes down and get close to the water—there’s plenty of opportunities.

People standing in line inside Casey's Cupcakes in Riverside California

Casey's Cupcakes ice cream cupcakes

BONUS SWEETS: Ice cream, cake, how about an ice cream cupcake! Satiate your sweet tooth with an ice cream–infused cupcake. Casey’s Cupcakes quickly gained national fame after winning the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. The whimsical bakery opened in 2009 at the Historic Mission Inn right in the heart of downtown Riverside. Choose from flavors like Decadent Dark Chocolate, Rockin' Red Velvet, Caribbean Coconut, and many more.

Two people enjoying Casey's Cupcakes at an outdoor patio in Riverside

From the CA-60 take the exit for Moreno Beach Dr. and head south. After 3.3 miles turn left onto Via Del Lago and head into the State Recreation Area. Admission is $10 for the day. Park anywhere between Moreno Beach and Perris Beach. This trail is dog- and horse-friendly.

Story and photos by Ben Replogle, @big_mountain_moose

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