Wildflowers are blooming, waterfalls are flowing from snowmelt, and wild mushrooms are starting to pop up throughout the forest, which can only mean spring has sprung in the Hocking Hills! And when springtime arrives, foragers grab their baskets in search of mushrooms in Ohio, such as the coveted morel mushrooms. Morels can only be found from late March through early May, so we encourage you to book your cabin with Chalets in Hocking Hills now. It’s time to get outside and discover these tasty treasures for yourself!
Facts About Mushrooms in Ohio
Even though there are more than 2,000 mushrooms in Ohio, the morel mushroom is often the first variety to pop up in the springtime. Many other mushrooms such as chanterelle, giant puffball, and lion’s mane have a longer and later growing season. Since so many edible mushrooms are similar in appearance to the poisonous ones, it’s essential to do your research before you hit the trails. Start with this Ohio mushroom fact sheet or visit The Ohio Mushroom Society for updated newsletters that focus on local shrooming.
Where and How to Find Morels
The first step to start mushroom hunting in Ohio is to figure out where to go. We have the best luck at our Chalets at Old Man’s Cave, so we recommend staying at one of our A-frames or cabins here. Hit the trails from your chalet and begin your search around nearby ash, oak, and elm trees. Morels can also be found on east-facing hills after a rainy day when the soil is damp and loose.
If you are unsure how to find and identify mushrooms, we recommend joining the plant ecotour with High Rock Adventures. They have an edible and medicinal plant tour available for those who want an introduction to the local ecology before mushroom hunting on their own. The tour will begin operation in mid-April.
Beware of False Morels!
For everyone to have a fun and successful day of mushroom hunting, you need to be aware of poisonous mushroom varieties. The Gyromitra or false morel is similar to true morels in shape and appearance, especially in the early season.
True morels are distinguished by their conical shape and dark pits, while false morels are not conical and have red coloring. True morels are also hollow inside, and false morels have a cotton-like substance inside. But, even with all this in mind, these mushrooms are difficult to tell apart, so when in doubt, do not eat any mushrooms!
Join Us for Foraging in the Hocking Hills
Learn more about how to identify and cook morel mushrooms on our Hocking Hills Hidden Treasures post. If you are lucky enough to find the elusive morels, bring them back to your chalet and cook them in your fully equipped kitchen. We have 25 cabins and lodges to choose from near Old Man’s Cave, perfect for foragers. Stay with us at the Chalets in Hocking Hills and discover morel mushrooms in Ohio this spring!