River/Creek · Views
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 hiking smooth dirt and then next you'll be making your way across loose and chunky terrain.
After the second road crossing there is a short, steep section to reach a craggy ridge. After topping out, enjoy the views before the next downhill sections that cover both sides of the ridge.
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 sweeping corners and short sections with rocky footing. The trail changes character as it approaches Duval Creek with steeper grades. As you descend toward FS Road 531 the trail passes through old growth forest where you'll want to watch your step because of the abundance of roots on the trail.
Pop out onto FS 531 and hike down the road for 100 feet to pick up the trail (on your left) again, or hike a mile of road to the intersection of Patterson Mountain Road/531 where most people park a shuttle vehicle.
If you choose to continue down to Highway 58 by trail, stay left on South Willamette #3465 and hike about two miles over rolling contours and through several creek crossings. You'll have a few short descents to the Eula Ridge/South Willamette Trailhead.