My friend and I hit the road early Saturday morning in search of drier weather on the east side of the Cascade range. We arrived at the Stafford Creek Trailhead around 11:00 am to find the parking almost completely full.
We started making the trek to Navaho Peak around the 11:15 and arrived at the meadow that sits just below the peak around 2:00 pm. Along the way, we saw trail runners, day hikers, and backpackers all sharing the trail. The approach to the meadow is a fairly moderate incline spread out over the course of 5 miles. When we arrived at the meadow, we were surprised to see how many tents were already set up for the night. I would estimate there were about 30+ tents spread out in the area. While there were a lot of people camping, it didn't feel overcrowded because people were spread out throughout the meadow. Reminder: it's important to always camp in designated areas or preexisting campsite to ensure a low impact on the land. Also, remember your LNT principles.
After seeing the number of people that were camped out, we decided that we were going to try and summit early the next morning before everyone else woke up.
The next morning, we woke at 4:00 am and headed up the last mile push to the summit of Navaho Peak. This was by far the most strenuous part of the trip. For the last .5 miles, you can expect to climb a very steep and exposed section of trail. Be sure to hike at your own rate and bring lots of water, especially if you are planning on summiting mid-day. The view from the top of Navaho Peak did not disappoint. It was definitely worth waking up at 4:00 am to see the morning light on the Stuart Range.