7 Best Outdoor Things To Do During Fall In Washington State

Fall in Washington State is absolutely gorgeous! In my opinion it’s one of the best times to visit the Pacific Northwest for beautiful autumn foliage, prime hiking conditions, and epic whale watching. It’s also a great time of year to enjoy pumpkin patches, corn mazes, festivals, and to take a cozy cabin getaway!

In this blog post I am sharing 7 bucket list worthy outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State. Numerous of these activities only happen during the fall, so don’t miss out!

BEST Outdoor Things To Do During Fall in Washington State - Renee Roaming

This blog post is in partnership with Backcountry.com, my go-to online retailer when gearing up for outdoor adventures. They offer free 2-day shipping on orders over $50, easy returns, 24/7 advice from their amazing Gearheads, and they support incredible causes like The Nature Conservancy. Backcountry have kindly offered my readers 15% off first-time online orders using code RENEE15! (some exclusions apply)


7 Best Outdoor Things To Do During Fall In Washington State

Before we jump into the recommendations, keep in mind that 2020 is a unique year for fall events in Washington (and across the entire United States). Some festivals and fairs have been postponed until 2021 but I have done my best to only include suggestions that are going ahead.

Important – Please be respectful of local Washington communities when traveling during fall. Follow social distancing guidelines, mask up, wash your hands, and don’t travel if you are sick.

Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Backpacking in the mountains
Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Hiking in North Cascades National Park

Take a fall hike

September is my favorite month for hiking in Washington. This is because the mosquitos are FINALLY gone, wild huckleberries and blueberries are ready to eat, and fall colors are beginning to peak. October is usually prime for peak fall foliage but can also be snowy in the mountains, depending on the year. It’s important to check current conditions before going and plan accordingly for weather. These are some incredible hiking trails to consider during fall in Washington State:

Heather/Maple Pass Loop

Blue Lake

Trappers Peak
  • Location: North Cascades – click here for directions
  • Distance: 10.2 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation gain: 2900 feet
  • Parking pass/entry fee: none
  • Description: find out more information via Washington Trails Association. There is also the option to hike down to Thornton Lakes, but this will add on extra mileage.

Skyline Trail Loop

Hiking gear suggestions

Hiking related posts to read next:


Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Craven Farms pumpkin patch
Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Craven Farms corn maze
Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Craven Farms corn maze adventure

Visit a pumpkin patch and corn maze

Checking out a local farm is one of the top outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State. I mean… does it get much more festive than visiting a pumpkin patch and corn maze during fall?! It makes for a fun outing with friends, family, or a loved one. Here are some suggestions on where to find Washington pumpkin patches and corn mazes:

Outfit ideas

Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - San Juan Island Washington
Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - San Juan Islands Washington

Explore the San Juan Islands

Another recommended thing to do during fall in Washington State is exploring the San Juan Islands. The islands are known for their farm tours, locally grown food, kayaking, hiking, and festivals. September – November usually sees plenty of sunny days on the San Juan Islands, with temperatures in the 60’s and 50’s.

Getting from Seattle to the San Juan Islands is best done by ferry or plane, with advance reservations recommended. Here are my top suggestions for fall activities when visiting the San Juan Islands:

Take a fall hike

Check out Cascade Falls Trail on Orcas Island, Young Hill Trail on San Juan Island, and Turtleback Mountain Ship Peak Loop Trail on Orcas Islands.

Go whale watching

Fall is a great time to view whales in the Pacific Northwest! The next section of this blog post shares all the details about whale watching during fall in Washington State, so keep reading!

Try out kayaking

The San Juan Islands are home to world class kayaking and paddle boarding. You can either bring your own or rent a water vessel from numerous local businesses on San Juan, Orcas, or Lopez Island. Guided tour suggestion: Kayaking Tour in The San Juan Islands

Savor the San Juans Festival

Attend the Savor The San Juans festival. In 2020 it will be held virtually, with local farmers, chefs, winemakers, and artists bringing all the flavors of fall directly to you at home! Find out all the details here.

Packing suggestions

Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Whale watching orca whales Washington
Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Whale watching humpback whales Washington

Go whale watching

Washington’s Puget Sound is famous for its whale watching! You can spot Orcas, gray, and humpback whales year round in the Pacific Northwest, and early fall is typically a good time to spot southern resident Orcas traveling through the San Juan Islands. Suggested whale watching tour companies in Washington:

What to wear whale watching

Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Washingotn A Frame Cabin
Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Washingotn A Frame Cabin Fall

Stay in a cozy cabin

There are so many cozy cabins to choose from during fall in Washington State! I recommend choosing one with an outdoor hot tub so that you can spend time soaking whilst enjoying the fall foliage views (and maybe even sip a pumpkin spice latte while you’re at it!) Read my guide featuring 24 Cozy Cabins and Treehouses to Rent in Washington State or check out my top suggestions below:

Packing suggestions

Read next: 24 Cozy Cabins and Treehouses to Rent in Washington State


Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Backpacking in the Enchantments 2
Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Backpacking in the Enchantments
Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Backpacking in the Enchantments mountain goat

Go backpacking

Next on our list of outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State is backpacking! September and early October is prime backpacking conditions and larch season in the mountains, and the entirety of fall is perfect for coastal camping on the Olympic Peninsula. These are two incredible backpacking trips to consider during fall in Washington State:

Rialto Beach

The Enchantments

Backpacking gear suggestions

Suggested backpacking posts to read next:


Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - North Cascades Scenic Highway

Take a scenic drive

There are numerous scenic drives you can take during fall in Washington State and they make for the perfect day trip! My favorite is probably the North Cascades Scenic Highway (Hwy 20) because of its epic mountain views and various places to stop. Here are my top suggestions for things to see along the North Cascades Scenic Highway in fall:

Road trip outfit ideas

PIN for later reading!

7 BEST Outdoor Things To Do During Fall in Washington State - Renee Roaming
What To Do During Fall in Washington State - Renee Roaming


Disclaimer: Thank you to Backcountry for collaborating on this blog post. The offer of 15% off does not apply on top of any other offer or discount, and it’s one use per customer. As always, all opinions are my own. This post does contain some affiliate links,  which means if you buy something my blog will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

7 Best Outdoor Things To Do During Fall In Washington State

Fall in Washington State is absolutely gorgeous! In my opinion it’s one of the best times to visit the Pacific Northwest for beautiful autumn foliage, prime hiking conditions, and epic whale watching. It’s also a great time of year to enjoy pumpkin patches, corn mazes, festivals, and to take a cozy cabin getaway!

In this blog post I am sharing 7 bucket list worthy outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State. Numerous of these activities only happen during the fall, so don’t miss out!

BEST Outdoor Things To Do During Fall in Washington State - Renee Roaming

This blog post is in partnership with Backcountry.com, my go-to online retailer when gearing up for outdoor adventures. They offer free 2-day shipping on orders over $50, easy returns, 24/7 advice from their amazing Gearheads, and they support incredible causes like The Nature Conservancy. Backcountry have kindly offered my readers 15% off first-time online orders using code RENEE15! (some exclusions apply)


7 Best Outdoor Things To Do During Fall In Washington State

Before we jump into the recommendations, keep in mind that 2020 is a unique year for fall events in Washington (and across the entire United States). Some festivals and fairs have been postponed until 2021 but I have done my best to only include suggestions that are going ahead.

Important – Please be respectful of local Washington communities when traveling during fall. Follow social distancing guidelines, mask up, wash your hands, and don’t travel if you are sick.

Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Backpacking in the mountains
Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Hiking in North Cascades National Park

Take a fall hike

September is my favorite month for hiking in Washington. This is because the mosquitos are FINALLY gone, wild huckleberries and blueberries are ready to eat, and fall colors are beginning to peak. October is usually prime for peak fall foliage but can also be snowy in the mountains, depending on the year. It’s important to check current conditions before going and plan accordingly for weather. These are some incredible hiking trails to consider during fall in Washington State:

Heather/Maple Pass Loop

Blue Lake

Trappers Peak
  • Location: North Cascades – click here for directions
  • Distance: 10.2 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation gain: 2900 feet
  • Parking pass/entry fee: none
  • Description: find out more information via Washington Trails Association. There is also the option to hike down to Thornton Lakes, but this will add on extra mileage.

Skyline Trail Loop

Hiking gear suggestions

Hiking related posts to read next:


Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Craven Farms pumpkin patch
Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Craven Farms corn maze
Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Craven Farms corn maze adventure

Visit a pumpkin patch and corn maze

Checking out a local farm is one of the top outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State. I mean… does it get much more festive than visiting a pumpkin patch and corn maze during fall?! It makes for a fun outing with friends, family, or a loved one. Here are some suggestions on where to find Washington pumpkin patches and corn mazes:

Outfit ideas

Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - San Juan Island Washington
Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - San Juan Islands Washington

Explore the San Juan Islands

Another recommended thing to do during fall in Washington State is exploring the San Juan Islands. The islands are known for their farm tours, locally grown food, kayaking, hiking, and festivals. September – November usually sees plenty of sunny days on the San Juan Islands, with temperatures in the 60’s and 50’s.

Getting from Seattle to the San Juan Islands is best done by ferry or plane, with advance reservations recommended. Here are my top suggestions for fall activities when visiting the San Juan Islands:

Take a fall hike

Check out Cascade Falls Trail on Orcas Island, Young Hill Trail on San Juan Island, and Turtleback Mountain Ship Peak Loop Trail on Orcas Islands.

Go whale watching

Fall is a great time to view whales in the Pacific Northwest! The next section of this blog post shares all the details about whale watching during fall in Washington State, so keep reading!

Try out kayaking

The San Juan Islands are home to world class kayaking and paddle boarding. You can either bring your own or rent a water vessel from numerous local businesses on San Juan, Orcas, or Lopez Island. Guided tour suggestion: Kayaking Tour in The San Juan Islands

Savor the San Juans Festival

Attend the Savor The San Juans festival. In 2020 it will be held virtually, with local farmers, chefs, winemakers, and artists bringing all the flavors of fall directly to you at home! Find out all the details here.

Packing suggestions

Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Whale watching orca whales Washington
Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Whale watching humpback whales Washington

Go whale watching

Washington’s Puget Sound is famous for its whale watching! You can spot Orcas, gray, and humpback whales year round in the Pacific Northwest, and early fall is typically a good time to spot southern resident Orcas traveling through the San Juan Islands. Suggested whale watching tour companies in Washington:

What to wear whale watching

Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Washingotn A Frame Cabin
Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Washingotn A Frame Cabin Fall

Stay in a cozy cabin

There are so many cozy cabins to choose from during fall in Washington State! I recommend choosing one with an outdoor hot tub so that you can spend time soaking whilst enjoying the fall foliage views (and maybe even sip a pumpkin spice latte while you’re at it!) Read my guide featuring 24 Cozy Cabins and Treehouses to Rent in Washington State or check out my top suggestions below:

Packing suggestions

Read next: 24 Cozy Cabins and Treehouses to Rent in Washington State


Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Backpacking in the Enchantments 2
Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Backpacking in the Enchantments
Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - Backpacking in the Enchantments mountain goat

Go backpacking

Next on our list of outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State is backpacking! September and early October is prime backpacking conditions and larch season in the mountains, and the entirety of fall is perfect for coastal camping on the Olympic Peninsula. These are two incredible backpacking trips to consider during fall in Washington State:

Rialto Beach

The Enchantments

Backpacking gear suggestions

Suggested backpacking posts to read next:


Best outdoor things to do during fall in Washington State - North Cascades Scenic Highway

Take a scenic drive

There are numerous scenic drives you can take during fall in Washington State and they make for the perfect day trip! My favorite is probably the North Cascades Scenic Highway (Hwy 20) because of its epic mountain views and various places to stop. Here are my top suggestions for things to see along the North Cascades Scenic Highway in fall:

Road trip outfit ideas

PIN for later reading!

7 BEST Outdoor Things To Do During Fall in Washington State - Renee Roaming
What To Do During Fall in Washington State - Renee Roaming


Disclaimer: Thank you to Backcountry for collaborating on this blog post. The offer of 15% off does not apply on top of any other offer or discount, and it’s one use per customer. As always, all opinions are my own. This post does contain some affiliate links,  which means if you buy something my blog will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

7 Best Outdoor Things To Do During Fall In Washington State

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Renee Hahnel

Hi! My name is Renee and I'm an Australian photographer, blogger & travel addict. I now call the U.S.A home but you can usually find me wandering the globe with a camera in hand โœˆ Let's get lost!

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2 Comments

  1. Alyssa on September 29, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    Where is the main cover photo from? What hike?

  2. Jackie on September 29, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks for the great info. Would love to try out some of these activities.

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Renee Hahnel

Hi! My name is Renee and I'm an Australian photographer, blogger & travel addict. I now call the U.S.A home but you can usually find me wandering the globe with a camera in hand โœˆ Let's get lost!

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Originally published in February ’16 Hi, I’m Renee My story began in Melbourne, Australia. I was born into a loving family who raised me with a free and adventurous spirit. I grew up riding horses, playing in the mud and running around the farm. My parents enjoyed traveling and took my sister and I on…

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