Here Are the Best Places to Find Morel Mushrooms This Spring

Rayna Skiver - Author

May 4 2023, Published 4:33 p.m. ET

Close up of two morel mushrooms on a mossy forest floor
Source: ISTOCK

With summer quickly approaching, mushroom hunting season is upon us. Before you grab your basket and head out into the woods, though, it may be wise to brush up on your foraging knowledge.

For beginners, morels are one of the easiest to identify, but a few tips on where to find them surely wouldn’t hurt. Make sure you check out some of the best places to find morel mushrooms when you’re out searching.

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You can often find morel mushrooms in large burn sites.

Active burn site in forest
Source: ISTOCK

One good place to look for morel mushrooms is old burn sites in forests. While you might view a burnt forest as devoid of any life, it’s actually the opposite — the new life might just look different. Apparently, morels tend to grow in places that were completely ravaged by fire.

According to Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, researchers think that this is because the conditions are just right, meaning that there’s moisture and the soil temperature is ideal.

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Check areas with loamy soil.

Morels love loamy soil. This is because they thrive in well-drained soils that allow for good water circulation. While they also enjoy sandy soil occasionally, it’s important to avoid soils that are on the extreme end of either spectrum. For example, if soil retains too much water or the water leaches out of it at an excessive rate, then it’s no good, according to Mushroom Stalkers.

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If you’re hunting early in the season, look on south-facing slopes.

If you just can’t wait to go mushroom hunting and decide to go earlier in the year, make sure you search the south-facing slopes first. At the beginning of the season, these slopes are more likely to give you better results, Visit Charlevoix explained. This is because south-facing slopes will have warmer ground temperatures and receive more direct sunlight compared to north-facing slopes.

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Following a winding river or stream could lead to some great discoveries.

Morel mushroom near creek
Source: ISTOCK

When you’re looking in the woods, keep an eye out for rivers, creeks, or streams of any sort. Morel mushrooms can be found near or along these areas because of the higher humidity, according to Oklahoma State University Extension. This is a good clue to keep in mind when mushroom hunting, as it can be helpful when deciding where to plan your excursion.

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Be sure to examine the area around dead trees.

Morel mushroom inside log
Source: ISTOCK

When provided with the right conditions, morel mushrooms will start sprouting — the space around dead trees just so happen to meet the requirements. According to the University of New Hampshire Extension, this is because mushrooms are decomposers, meaning they break down decaying organic matter like old leaves and roots. So be sure to check around dead trees to see if you can find anything.

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These are the best states for morel mushroom hunting:

Morel mushrooms in wicker basket on forest floor
Source: ISTOCK

As mentioned previously, with the right environmental conditions, morel mushrooms will grow — they aren’t necessarily limited to certain states. In fact, they can be found in pretty much every state in the U.S. This is great news because it means that no matter where you are, you can try mushroom hunting.

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Though if you really want to hit the morel jackpot, Vermont, Michigan, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Oklahoma are known to be particularly endowed, according to Better Homes and Gardens. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of these states, then be sure to take advantage of it!

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