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Where To Go Mushroom Foraging in the US (and What To Look For)

The best spots to fill your basket.

Mushrooms in a basket on the forest floor
Hi, I'm Jacqueline!

Jacqueline Kehoe is a freelance writer and photographer with work seen in National Geographic, Thrillist, Travel + Leisure, and more. Find her out on the trails or at jacquelinekehoe.com.

Humans have been foraging for mushrooms for thousands and thousands of years—it’s only recently that the practice has fallen out of the mainstream. But the art is on the comeback, with more and more of us realizing that mushrooms are healthy, full of medicinal properties, and delicious. Simply finding them feels like winning Mother Nature’s lottery.

Though choice edible mushrooms grow across much of the US, there are a few spots that stand out across the regions. Should you find yourself in any of the below locales, be sure to look down.

Oregon Coast, Oregon

An Oregon forest on a sunny day.
The forests of Oregon.Photo credit: Bob Pool / Shutterstock

Look for: chanterelles, king boletes, and lobster mushrooms.

Once late August hits, mushrooms are at their peak on the Oregon Coast—the season can last into December. Get yourself into the forest, scouting at the feet of Douglas firs, cedars, and evergreens. You’ll likely find chanterelles (Oregon’s official state mushroom), the American matsutake, king boletes, lobster mushrooms, and more. Of course, if you’re around the Willamette Valley, you stand a chance at striking forest-floor gold: truffles.

The ground at your feet will be dense with flora and mushrooms may be covered up, so travel slowly, keeping an eye out for the smallest splash of color or texture. All state forests allow harvesting up to one gallon of mushrooms without a permit; in state parks and recreation areas, you’re allowed up to five gallons per day.

Insider tip: Morels, those earthy delicacies, are best foraged in spring, from March to May.

Ohio

Shawnee State Forest and its tranquil waters.
Shawnee State Forest is a great place to go looking for mushrooms.Photo credit: RosemountChick / Tripadvisor

Look for: morels, chanterelles, and meadow mushrooms.

More than 2,000 kinds of mushrooms pop up in Ohio, but many foragers are most excited about just one: morels. The season peaks around late April, when the ‘shrooms are at their most choice. That being said, false morels also pop up this time of year, so be sure you know how to identify the real thing. Beyond morels, fall is a great time for the state’s other edible varieties.

Brush Creek State Forest and Shawnee State Forest make two great spots to find morels, shaggy mane, meadow mushrooms, chanterelles, and many more. For certain spots, you will need a permit—be sure to check with your desired green space before going on the hunt.

Seattle, Washington

Whidbey Island on a sunny day.
Whidbey Island near Seattle.Photo credit: Edmund Lowe Photography / Shutterstock

Look for: lobster mushrooms, matsutake, and morels.

While you won’t find too many mushrooms in Seattle proper, basing yourself out of Seattle gives you so many options for scoring fungi: nearby Whidbey Island, Snohomish County, and the San Juan Islands are all hot spots where you can fill up your bag or basket. The Mt. Rainier area alone has dozens of edible species—really, you can’t go wrong in any of Washington’s misty green spaces. Scout out mushroom-foraging groups and clubs in the city for meetups, events, and tips on perfecting the local hunt.

Asheville, North Carolina

The Appalachian Trail in North Carolina on a beautifully stormy day.
The Appalachian Trail in North Carolina.Photo credit: Trevor McGoldrick / Shutterstock

Look for: lion's mane, maitake, and oyster mushrooms.

The dense, biodiverse forests around Asheville make for prime mushroom-hunting spots. Medicinal varieties including lion’s mane, maitake, and reishi aren’t uncommon, and you’ll find them hidden alongside classic faves such as oyster mushrooms and chanterelles.

You could even double your foraging fun by going on the hunt along the Appalachian Trail, turning your morning or afternoon into a hiking-foraging combo. Post up in the hiking town of Hot Springs—north of Asheville—to stoop and scour along America’s first national scenic trail.

The Colorado Rockies, Colorado

Golden foliage in the Rocky Mountains in fall.
The Rocky Mountains in fall are stunning.Photo credit: f11photo / Shutterstock

Look for: porcini, chanterelles, and morels.

With fungi loving high elevations and cool, dense forests, Colorado’s towering Rocky Mountains make for prime mushroom-hunting territory. Mixed conifer forests above 9,000 feet (2,743 meters) with dappled sun and shade are your best bets—keep an eye out for two state favorites: porcinis and chanterelles. Those both peak from mid-July to September, somewhat depending on how high up you are.

If you’re not going to be in Colorado in late summer, know that you can find the rare morel come spring, and oyster mushrooms through winter.

Northern Minnesota, Minnesota

A small village in Minnesota in the fall.
Northern Minnesota in late fall.Photo credit: melissamn / Shutterstock

Look for: Morels, chicken of the woods, and bluing boletes.

The forests of the Upper Midwest are yet another spectacular spot for finding fungi friends. Get close to Lake Superior—like in Minnesota’s Lake County—and you’re sure to find something hidden at your feet. Morels are more likely to be found around aspen and elm trees in spring; look for chanterelles around hardwood trees, like maples and oaks, come fall. Among others, chicken of the woods, pheasant’s back, and bluing boletes are possibilities, too. In total, there are hundreds of edible mushroom species in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Sitka, Alaska

Sunny Sitka in Alaska.
Sitka in the sun.Photo credit: Roman Tigal / Shutterstock

Look for: boletes, chanterelles, and angel wings.

Surrounded by the Tongass National Forest and the warming mist of the Pacific Ocean, Sitka makes a great base for collecting Alaska’s best mushrooms (in fact, many Alaskans use mushrooms as a primary source of food, pigments, and more). Late summer into fall is the best time here, and harvesting in the national forests does not require a permit.

In addition to common finds like boletes and chanterelles, you may find some fungi that stretch the limits of your knowledge, like angel wings, green russula, and “The Gypsy” (Cortinarius caperatus). Up here, it’s truly another foraging world.

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