The drive to this trail is enough of an adventure that hiking the Lava Ridge Trail will be the cherry on top. Be careful, though, as it's easy to get lost on the way. The road where you'll find the trailhead, Forest Service Road 308, isn't currently in the Google Maps database, so it's a good idea to get a printed map or talk to a ranger at the Payette National Forest office in McCall. The Forest Service map will show that the road you take from Highway 55, variously named Brundage Road, Goose Lake Road, and Hazard Lake Road, eventually connects with FS Road 308. The trailhead for Lava Ridge Trail (#149) is right next to where the road crosses Big Dave Creek. You can also find GPS coordinates online.
Once you're there, you'll be in awe of the peace and solitude of the wilderness around you. Follow the creek through thick forests and you'll eventually start to see granite bluffs and lava rock outcroppings. You'll pass by several mountain lakes as you hike along the high ridges. While the trail goes over bare rock in many places, you'll also roam through grassy alpine meadows. Pine trees cling to the hillsides and fill the air with their scent. In some places, the skeletons of trees burned in a forest fire add to the otherworldly feeling created by the boulders and jagged rock formations.
In the spring and summer, you're likely to see sprays of wildflowers in many colors carpeting the bluffs. You're also likely to spot wildlife including deer and eagles. When you reach the top of Lava Ridge at the end of the trail, you'll be able to see the forests and rolling hills around you for miles in every direction. As you take in the ridges receding into the distance and watch the shadows of clouds pass over the blue-green lakes below, you'll want to pat your companion's furry head and congratulate yourselves for your successful wilderness adventure.