The trip comes as North Korea threatens to punish anyone trying to disrupt a plan to conduct what the United States and South Korea believe may be a long-range missile test.
The officials, who spoke about the trip on condition of anonymity because an announcement was pending, said Clinton was expected to announce that Stephen Bosworth would soon travel to the capitals of four countries that have been working with Washington to get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program - Russia, Japan, China and South Korea.
The North's planned launch of what it says will be a satellite is seen as a bid for President Barack Obama's attention as six-nation nuclear disarmament talks remain stalled and tension with South Korea soars.
Any missile test would trigger international sanctions.
Bosworth, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, was named last week as the Obama administration's special representative for North Korea. Bosworth is responsible for coordinating the overall U.S. policy for North Korea and will keep his position as dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University; the State Department says another special envoy for North Korea, Sung Kim, will handle "day-to-day" negotiations with North Korea.
Analysts said satellite imagery taken last week revealed a flurry of activity at the Musudan-ni test site in North Korea but no indication a rocket had been mounted on the launch pad. Once mounted, the rocket could take days to fuel.
In 1998, North Korea test-fired a long-range Taepodong-1 ballistic missile over Japan and then claimed to have put a satellite into orbit. In 2006, the country also test-launched a longer-range Taepodong-2 missile believed capable of reaching Alaska, but it plunged into the ocean shortly after liftoff. The North is believed to be working on an upgraded Taepodong-2 capable of reaching the U.S. west coast.
The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution in 2006 prohibiting Pyongyang from ballistic activity. South Korea says it would consider either a satellite or missile launch a threat and violation of the U.N. ban since both use similar rocket delivery systems.