Morel mushrooms are a seasonal delicacy found across the United States and are highly sought after by culinary enthusiasts and foragers alike. These elusive fungi, known for their distinct honeycomb-like appearance and rich, earthy flavor, are an exciting find for anyone lucky enough to spot them, which is why most hunters are asking what states are morel mushrooms found.
In this article, we’ll explore the various regions of the US where you can find morel mushrooms, and we’ll offer tips on where to find these undiscovered treasures in their natural settings.
What states are Morel Mushrooms found?
Morel mushrooms are most commonly found in temperate climates and can be found across many U.S. states. They are particularly prevalent in the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest, with states like Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, and Washington known for their abundant morel populations.
Other regions, including the Northeast and South, also have morels, with sightings in states like Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
However, the presence of morels can significantly vary based on local conditions, including weather and the types of trees in the area. While they can occasionally appear in warmer states like Florida, they are less common in these regions.
Morels are least likely to be found in desert or highly tropical environments, such as Arizona, Southern Texas, and Hawaii. For the most accurate information, it’s recommended to consult with local mycology or foraging groups.
The Southeast Region of the United States consists of the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Virginia. Several states in this region contain morel mushrooms, but they’re difficult to find in Florida and the deep southern regions of Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Here are some of the states in the Southeast region where you can find morels:
Morel mushrooms are primarily found in the Red River Gorge region of the Daniel Boone National Forest and are most prevalent from late March to mid-May. Additionally, you can search for them in Breckinridge, Madisonville, Elizabethtown, Mammoth Cave, and Bowling Green.
Tennessee is another state with abundant morel mushroom growth. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a popular location for locating morels, particularly at higher elevations. The best time to hunt for morels in Tennessee is typically between late March and mid-May.
3. North Carolina
Morels can be found in the western portion of North Carolina, specifically in the Nantahala National Forests. You can find these fungi near ash, elm, and tulip poplar trees, and the closer you are to the Atlantic Ocean, the less likely you are to find them.
There are numerous opportunities for morel hunting in Virginia, especially in Shenandoah National Park and the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. You can also discover them near tulip poplar groves and near dead or dying elm and ash trees.
Only a few morel mushrooms can be found in the states of Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, so morel mushroom hunting in these states isn’t particularly popular. Also, these mushrooms are uncommon in Florida because the region’s temperatures are too high for their growth.
Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas are some states that make up the Southwest Region of the United States. Although morel mushrooms can be found in certain areas of the region, they’re mainly concentrated in the eastern part.
In the Southwest Region, these are some of the states known for the presence of morel mushrooms:
The state of Oklahoma has a diverse landscape that’s advantageous to the growth of morels. These mushrooms are particularly abundant in the eastern part of the state, from Oklahoma City to the areas where oak and hickory forests are dominant. Morel hunting is a popular activity in the Ouachita National Forest, with the season usually starting in late March and ending in April, depending on the weather.
The best time to search for these mushrooms in the state is typically two weeks before or after April 1st. Foragers in the area suggest looking for wild edibles around cedar and hemlock swamps, mixed hardwood forests, aspen trees, dead American elms, and apple orchards.
You can also find Morel mushrooms in the northeastern parts of Texas. While less plentiful than in the northern part of the state, morels can still be discovered in these regions during their appropriate season, which usually spans from mid-March to mid-April.
Central Plains Region
Kansas and Nebraska are some of the states that are located in the United States’ Central Plains Region. Morel mushrooms are plentiful in this region, and can be found from the central to eastern parts of both of these states.
The following states in the Central Plains Region are recognized for their morel mushrooms:
You can find morel mushrooms in wooded areas in Kansas, especially near dead or dying elm trees. They can also be found around ash, sycamore, and cottonwood trees.
The best time for successful morel hunting in Kansas is typically from mid-April to May. Others are also engaging in mushroom hunting in the river basins of Kansas, including the Kansas River, Big Blue River, and Missouri River.
Another state where morel mushrooms are common is Nebraska, particularly in the state’s eastern region. They typically begin to grow in mid-April in the state’s southeast region. In central Nebraska, they start growing at the beginning of May, while in the northern and western parts of the state, they appear later.
The Midwest Region of the United States comprises of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, western Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. These states have abundant growth of Morel mushrooms, making them ideal places for Morel hunting.
In the Midwest Region, you can discover morel mushrooms in these states:
In Illinois, three species of morels can be found. The Shawnee National Forest, located in the southern part of the state, is a well-known spot for morel hunting, and the season for hunting morels usually starts as early as March.
The Hoosier National Forest in Indiana is a great place to go morel hunting. In Indiana, morels are commonly found near dead or dying elm trees and other tree species such as ash, sycamore, and cottonwood.
If you’re a morel hunter, Michigan is a great state to explore, especially the southern region. You can find these mushrooms in the Huron-Manistee National Forests located in Michigan.
These items are popular to hunt in the state’s national forests, but it’s important to note that they’re only allowed for personal use and can’t be sold.
There’s a good reason why morels are considered the state mushroom. These fungi are well-liked in the state and typically appear every spring with enough rainfall. In the southern part of the state, they typically grow between late April and May, while in the northern parts, they tend to bloom more in June.
In Ohio, the season for gathering edible wild mushrooms begins in late March or early April. They’re plentiful in the state until the first two weeks of May. Also, Ohio is home to up to five species of morels.
It’s quite easy to find morel mushrooms in Wisconsin as they’re commonly found around or under various trees such as ash, elm, and sycamore trees. Muscoda, Wisconsin is known as the Morel Mushroom Capital of Wisconsin and even has a festival called the Muscoda Morel Mushroom Festival to celebrate this.
Although morel hunting is less common in the Northeastern United States than in other parts of the country because the mushrooms are less plentiful there, you can still find them in places like New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Some of the best places to find morels in these states are:
In the Northeast Region, the following states are notable for morel mushrooms:
1. New York
The Catskill and Adirondack Mountains, as well as the old, abandoned apple orchards of the Hudson Valley region, are the most likely places in the state of New York to find an abundance of morel mushrooms.
Morel hunting in Pennsylvania is best in areas like the Allegheny National Forest and the Pocono Mountains.
In Maryland, the best time to find morels is from the end of March until the middle of May. They’re most likely to be found in the western part of the state, particularly in the Appalachian Mountains.
Though they aren’t as common as they’re in the Midwest, morel mushrooms can be found scattered across several states in the West region of the United States. Factors such as elevation, weather conditions, and the presence of burn sites can affect the distribution of morels in the West Region.
You can find these fungi in some of the states in this region, including California, Oregon, and Washington.
In California, you can find morel mushrooms in the southern parts, Central Valley region, and the state’s northern region, such as the Shasta Cascades. Mid-March through mid-May is the usual time frame for finding morels, but this can vary depending on the elevation and weather.
Oregon is a great place for morel hunting, especially in the Cascade Mountains, where the environment and temperature are ideal for these types of mushrooms.
In Washington, substantial burn areas in high mountain evergreen forests are where morel mushrooms tend to grow. The areas have a layer of fallen needles on the ground, which provides a favorable environment for the growth of morels.
Morels can also be found growing near branches and even coming out from under charred logs. They do this to take advantage of the nutrients released when organic matter is burned.