An Introduction to Colorado Morels

Updated: Apr 12, 2020

"We have morels here?!”

This is often the response I get when talking to someone about hunting for morels in Colorado. Yes, yes we do, and sometimes they can be quite prevalent.

In this series of blog posts I hope to teach you everything I know about these elusive spring mushrooms!

This short introduction post will serve as a foundation for the rest of the blogs that will be in this series. If you’re brand new to morels in Colorado, or elsewhere, I would suggest following through the entire thing as it will be chock full of information. However, if you already have some experience finding morels feel free to jump around the different parts to pick out the specifics you’re looking for! At the bottom of this post I will also include a list of resources related to Colorado morels.

Here’s what you can expect from the rest of the series…

A handful of yellow morels (Morchella esculentoides) found in Colorado.
A handful of yellow morels found in Colorado.

In the next post we’ll get into the basics of morels. We’ll go over the two “types” found in Colorado, yellow (also called blonde) and black, we’ll go over important identifying traits and differences between morels and their common look-a-likes, what sort of gear you’ll want to have before you get started, and some of the mindset that you should develop in order to be a successful morel hunter!

After the basics we’ll get into the specifics of morels. This section will be separated between the two types of morels mentioned above and will be the most information dense part of the series. We’ll go through all the details; starting with the low elevation yellows and following the morel’s natural fruiting progression into the mountains where we’ll find the blacks.

We’ll get into the when, where, what, and how for both types. That will include habitats and elevations, seasonal timing, key plant species to learn, and troubleshooting when it all seems perfect but you’re still finding yourself empty handed. We’ll also cover some of the differences between ‘burn’ and ‘natural’ black morels as well as some details for hunting down burn morels.

Black morels (Morchella sp.) found in a burn area in Colorado.
A few perfect burn morels from Colorado.

The final section will be the “after action report”. Assuming we’ve put all the pieces together and actually found some morels we’ll need to know the proper way to collect, process, transport, preserve, and get them ready for cooking! In this section we’ll go from the field into the kitchen, properly caring for our precious morels the entire way.