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Lollipop Loop is a sugar sweet ski trail

Dave Potter was excitedly licking his chops as he focused at the sign showing the name of the trail on which we were cross-country skiing. Like an auctioneer he barked out a series of ideas that he declared might be used in a story about our outing.

“Lick the Lollipop. Get it!” he laughed.

Got it. So, here it goes: We were licking the Lollipop Trail, a deliciously sweet loop trail that begins and ends at the Fish Lake Sno-Park near Fish Lake Lodge off Highway 140. It’s a tasty 6.8-mile loop that’s rated by the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest as easy, and as beginner-intermediate by John Lund in his 1987 book “Southern Oregon Cross Country Ski Trails.”

The trail’s first section — the stem of the lollipop — is a shared ski/snowmobile trail that becomes a designated cross-country skiers and snowshoers-only trail at a junction about 1-1/2 miles from the sno-park.

From the sno-park we skied past Fish Lake Resort, which is closed this winter because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a junction with the Peppermint Trail. Ahead were two more trails with sweet-treats names: Suckers Alley and Candy Cain. Yes, Cain is the correct spelling because it’s named for Taylor Cain, a long-ago president of the Grants Pass Nordic Club. If we’d chosen to ski along the iced-over edge of Fish Lake to its junction with Lollipop, we could have added the Jellybean to our sweet ski trails network.

Sweet the Lollipop is. From the open gate where the trail is exclusively for skiers and snowshoers, we worked our way gradually uphill on Forest Road 900, the Lollipop Trail. Instead of following the Lollipop where it turned east on Forest Road 940, we continued south-southwest to the Lollipop’s junction with Sucker’s Alley, which bisects upper Lollipop. Gary Vequist, the only one of us who had previously skied the Lollipop and has a sweet tooth for being silly, happily posed for a Sucker portrait.

A short distance later was the junction for Candy Cain, a pleasant mile-long loop that returned to the Lollipop. Because of various side trails — Candy Cain, Peppermint, Sucker’s Alley — the Lollipop Loop can be skied in a variety of configurations, with most people choosing to go clockwise.

After returning to the Lollipop from the Candy Cain, most of the mile-plus ski back to the open gate was a kick-and glide-cruiser along the steady but not steep downhill.

However it’s done, the Lollipop Loop is a delightful ski. Most of the trail slices through dense and lush forests. The rewards for following the entire loop, especially the 1-1/2-mile-plus section that follows Forest Road 940 and gains about 340 feet, include appetizing views of Brown Mountain and Mount McLoughlin.

Without sugar coating it, and with apologies to Dave Potter, the Lollipop Loop is one heck of a lollapalooza trail.

To get there from Medford, follow Highway 62 north to Highway 140. Turn right and go east 30 miles to Fish Lake. Turn right onto the plowed access road and continue 0.4 mile to the Fish Lake Sno-Park. Sno-park permits are required.

Reach freelance writer Lee Juillerat at 337lee337@charter.net or 541-880-4139.

Gary Vequist leads skiers along the Lollipop Trail. Photo by Lee Juillerat