The city of Perris is located in Southern California. It has a mild, arid Mediterranean climate and a young, diverse population. The area is well-served by three school districts.
Lake Perris is ringed by various hills and small mountains. The coastal sage scrub community is predominant on the south-facing slopes of the Russell Mountains and Bernasconi Hills and is characterized by shrubby plants including desert encelia, brittlebush, sagebrush, black sage, white sage, buckwheat, and cacti. Conditions are somewhat shadier on hillsides that face north or northwest so that chaparral plants such as chamise, penstemon, and–caution!–poison oak are apt to be found.
Perris is named in honor of Fred T. Perris, chief engineer of the California Southern Railroad. The California Southern connected through the city in the 1880s to build a rail connection between the present day cities of Barstow and San Diego.
CSR purchased the land from Southern Pacific Railroad in the Pinacate area for a town site. Local citizens offered to erect a depot, dig a well, and donate a number of lots to the railroad in exchange for establishing a station at the new town site.
The Perris station came online in April 1886. By 1887, six passenger trains and two freight trains stopped at Perris daily and rapid growth followed for several years. After storms repeatedly washed out the tracks in the Temecula Gorge, service to San Diego through this route ended.
Perris officially incorporated as a city in 1911. It originally was part of San Diego County, but in 1892 was transferred to the newly established Riverside County.
Lake Perris SRA
The untended areas of Lake Perris may seem rocky and barren at first glance, but an amazing variety of natural wonders are waiting to be found by those who seek them out. The predominant plant community, coastal sage scrub is host to a variety of birds and wildlife. Mule deer, roadrunners, bobcats, coyotes, cotton tail, jack rabbits, quail, gopher snakes and rattlesnakes may sometimes be seen by day though they tend to shy away from people. More frequently seen are a wide variety of lizards, rodents, water fowl, and birds of prey. Beautiful displays of wildflowers occur during the rainy season-generally November through April.
The day use areas of Lake Perris offer almost 300 picnic sites with tables and grilling features. Many of the tables are sheltered from the heat of the summer with shade Ramadas, and almost all have a beautiful view of the lake. The most popular areas are near our two swim areas at Moreno and Perris Beach. Both beaches have large grass areas adjacent to the sand for playing games, sunbathing, and picnicking. All of our tables are wheelchair accessible, as well as our bathroom facilities.
All information about Perris courtesy of City of Perris.
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