Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Welcome REI Co-op Members!
We're glad you're here. If you can't access the Co-op Members section of the community,
click here for instructions on how to join the section that's just for you.

Early November backpacking trip in Washington

Wondering if anyone has advice on where to go in the state of WA for a 3-4 night backpacking trip in early November? Thanks.

4 Replies

@jbomforman early November backpacking in WA can be amazing, but specific destinations may be more/less feasible depending on how early winter decides to arrive. Freezing levels can drop quickly, and if there's any early snowfall, you may need to reconsider previously open destinations. One of the best resources for hiking/backpacking in WA state is the, where you can search for specific hikes or general suggestions, like "November backpacking." 

Hope this helps as a starting point, and then ideally you'll get some specific suggestions from other members of our community! @REI-AlexxD@REI-BarryP @REI-DaveK @REI-TaylorH - any recommendations?! 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thanks REI-JenK


Hey @jbomforman! As @REI-JenK mentioned there are some truly remarkable places to backpack in WA state. The answer to your question will vary on your level of experience and interest in some colder season hiking. There will undoubtedly be precipitation - be it snow at higher elevations or rain in most parts of the state.

This article by the Washington Trails Association: 13 Winter Backpacking Destinations  has some really good suggestions. If you want to stick to the lower elevations to (potentially) avoid snow - check out some of the classics on the Olympic Peninsula, such as Shi Shi Beach and Cape Alava Loop (AKA the Ozette Triangle). 

Having quality rain gear and warm layers is a must! We have great Virtual Outfitters if you need some tips and suggestions for layering systems and beyond. Glad to answer more questions that you might have, and happy that you're looking to explore some of the gems of the PNW!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Hi @jbomforman,

I’m excited to hear that someone else is still trying to get out backpacking in November!

As previously mentioned, where you go will greatly depend on your winter backpacking experience. If you are comfortable snowshoeing this will open several trails that would otherwise be inaccessible. If snow is in your plans; Please be sure to check the Northwest Avalanche Center website for snow and avalanche forecasts.

We have an article called Top Picks for Winter Camping in Washington. Most of the article discusses campsites you drive to, but the last 4 mentioned are for backcountry snow camping. I have been to 2 of the 4 locations listed. They are beautiful overnight trips that can be turned into multiple nights for further exploration.

If you want to avoid snow, then sticking to lower elevations will be your best bet. Dave mentioned Shi Shi Beach & Cape Alava Loop. I love this hike, but please note that the Shi Shi Beach trailhead is currently closed. The trail is located on Makah Tribe land and has been closed to the general public until further notice. It may be open by the time you are preparing for your trip. Here is the link to the Makah Tribe Public Announcement with the most up to date information.

Lake Cushman & Staircase area of Olympics are also inaccessible due to Forest Road 24 closure.

Further details with updates on the closures within Olympic National Park can be found here.

An area in the Olympics that is currently open and would make a great multi-night, late season trip is The Enchanted Valley. Check out this Washington Trails Association hike guide for details.

Greenwater and Echo Lakes is another low elevation hike that can be done in 1-4 nights. Greenwater Lakes Trail can be taken to Echo Lake, Lost Lake, Noble Knob, or Hidden Lake. Depending on the weather and the distance you are comfortable hiking a loop (aprox. 25 mi) can be made connecting them all.

Wherever you go, I hope you have a great time!

Happy trails

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.