Lawler starts as a rolling climb followed by a gentle descent to the intersection with the Patterson Mountain Viewpoint Connector
. The out and back is worth the effort for the trail and the view.
From the intersection, the trail contours a bit more and then starts the real descent. The trail surface changes often as it alternates between tight turns and straight line steep sections; one minute you'll be riding smooth hero dirt and then next you'll be skittering across loose and chunky.
After the second road crossing there is a punchy hike-a-bike section to gain a craggy ridge. After topping out, enjoy the views before the next downhill sections that covers both sides of the ridge.
As you descend to the lower reaches of Lawler, you'll get into the most thrilling part of the route. Relentless turns will whip you down steep and exposed slopes making your forearms burn and your heart race.
Lawler now continues by way of a new connection, built in 2016/2017, adding two more miles. The newer section is mostly machine built featuring mellower grades, with fun, sweeping corners and short rocky sections. The trail changes character as it approaches Duval Creek with steeper grades and exposed, log-reinforced switch-berms which will keep you on your toes, but off the brakes. As you descend toward FS Road 531 the trail passes through old growth forest where large roots and old root wad holes offer opportunities for air.
Pop out onto FS 531 and ride down the road for 100 feet to pick up the trail (on your left) again, or ride a mile of road to the intersection of Patterson Mountain Road/531 where most people park a shuttle rig.
If you choose to continue down to Highway 58 by trail, stay left on South Willamette #3465
and ride about two miles over rolling contours and several creek crossings. You'll get a few short, but fun, descents to the Eula Ridge/South Willamette Trailhead.