Navaho Peak Enchantments
Three Brothers is the mountain massif located at the extreme eastern end of the Wenatchee Mountains, and also one of the highest. It is seldomly climbed due to its relatively remote location compared to the other peaks. By the shortest access (Stafford Creek), it is a 16-mile roundtrip with over 4600 elevation gain (with ups and downs). By way of the politically-incorrectly named Negro Creek, it is an even further 25-mile roundtrip. For this reason, this climb may be more appropriate as an overnighter. With good camps along Stafford Creek and multiple climbing objectives along the way (such as Navaho Peak
), this area begs out for more exploration.
Three Brothers will afford an excellent view of Mt. Stuart and the Enchantments, not to mention more of a wilderness experience than the rest of the Wenatchee Mountains due to its remote location.
County Line Trail Climbing Ridge
Drive I-90 East from Seattle, getting off at Exit 85 (Cle Elum). Head east on Highway 970, arriving at the Teanaway River Road in about 5 miles. Turning left onto the Teanaway River Road, go 13.5 miles to 29 Pines Campground, and take the right fork where the road turns into dirt road. Go about 1 mile to the Stafford Creek Road and take a right at the fork. After 2.5 miles, find the trailhead for Trail # 1359 (the Stafford Creek-Cascade Creek Trail). Elevation 3100 feet.
Hike up the trail about 3.5 miles, crossing a very marshy open meadow. While the meadow is marshy, there are great camps here in the woods adjacent to the meadow, with water rushing down stone faces in a mini-waterfall. Cross the meadow the pick up the trail, which is faint to non-existent in the meadow, and find the junction with the StandUp Creek Trail. Go right at the junction, and in 1 more mile, arrive at Navaho Pass and a junction with the old County Line Trail. Head right (East) on the trail, traversing the ridge line until arriving at the south ridge of Navaho Peak
. From here, Three Brothers first comes into view.
Drop down into a basin on the east side of the ridge, losing about 400 feet in the process. This basin forms the headwaters of Negro Creek. From the here, climb directly up the West Ridge of the Three Brothers, skirting the ridge from time to time (mainly on the south side) to avoid cliffs. The highest summit is fortunately the first one you will come to, being the West Summit, elevation 7303 feet.
Trip Stats: 16 miles roundtrip, 4600 feet elevation gain, Class 2.
A Northwest Trail Park Pass ($30/year) is required to park at the trailhead. Otherwise, there is a wilderness permit required, but it is self-serve and available at the trailhead.
Mount Stuart Meadow with Camps
There is a lovely camp located about 3.5 miles up the trail. The ground is dry, and there is a wonderful water source in the form of a mini-waterfall, but it is adjacent to a marsh which can be the source of bugs in season. Beyond this, camping is limited until the basin just below Three Brothers at the head of Negro Creek.
Three Brothers from Dragontail - Photo Courtesy Klenke TOPO! Software Image
The closest year-round Forest Service ranger station is in Cle Elum, about 30 miles from Snoqualmie Pass. Contact information:
Cle Elum Ranger District
West 2nd Street
Cle Elum, WA 98922
Snow conditions are available from the Summit at Snoqualmie Ski Areas (of which Alpental is one) at the following website:
Summit at Snoqualmie Snow Conditions
Also, webcams are available from the Washington State Department of Transportation at:
Snoqualmie Pass Web Cam