Morel Mushroom Maps with the onX Hunt App

April 1, 2020 | Products

Find Places to Hunt for Morel Mushrooms

Learn the tools and tricks that expert morel hunters use to find success year after year using the onX Hunt App. Start your free trial—no credit card required.

Try onX TodayTry onX TodayTry onX Today

As the winter months recede and temperatures begin to rise, the allure of taking to the hills in search of morels becomes irresistible. As you plan your spring morel adventures, remember that onX Hunt has all the tools you need to scout before your trips and fill your mushroom sacks in the field.

A morel mushroom hunter in thick woods with two big mushrooms.

What Are Morel Mushrooms?

Morels are mushrooms that belong to the genus Morchella and are prized by chefs and gourmands around the world. With their nutty, earthy flavor and almost meaty texture, they can stand alone in a dish or accompany hearty proteins like wild game and steak. And while morels can be obtained commercially, the best way to score a haul is to take to the woods and find them yourself.

Growth and Soil Type

Morels can be tricky to find because they so often blend in with the surrounding vegetation and soils. They tend to prefer loamy soils often found near creek beds and river bottoms and the disturbed landscapes found near old burns and logging projects. When conditions are right, there may only be a few days between the morels being large enough to pick and past their prime, so checking a spot only once in the spring isn’t likely to work out.

Common Topography

Early in the season, concentrate your searches on south-facing slopes that receive the most sunlight. These areas will be the first to hit the minimum temperatures for morels to grow. As the spring progresses, widen your search area to include likely habitat on north-facing slopes as well. Also, make sure you don’t ignore river bottoms and forest edges.

Burn Areas

One of the most likely areas in which to find morels is burn areas. Ideally, you’ll have identified sections of forest that experienced fires of moderate intensity during the previous summer. Use onX Hunt’s Historic Wildfire Layer to identify past burns—these areas are never a bad place to begin your search.

Trees Worth Identifying

Another common strategy is to identify particular species of trees near which morels are often found. In the East, these may include elms, ashes, tulip poplars and old apple orchards. In the West, cottonwoods in river bottoms and aspen stands are good places to start your search.

A day's haul of morels on the tailgate of a truck.

When Is Morel Mushroom Season?

Broadly speaking, morels can be found from late March through June. The most likely dates for a particular area depend on the region of the country and how quickly the spring sun begins to warm the soil. Simply put, the sooner things warm up, the sooner morels will begin to emerge. A general rule is to wait until soil temperatures reach approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

A Note About Poisonous Morel Mushroom Look-Alikes

It is important to make sure the morels you’re picking are, in fact, actually morels. A number of similar-looking “false morels” can often be found in the same type of habitat, and some of them can cause intestinal distress or worse. One common method to identify false morels is by slicing them lengthwise and examining their core. Legitimate morels will have a hollow core, but false morels will be solid all the way through.

Learning the difference between real and false morels is critical, so refer to field guides and other sources before consuming any morels you harvest.

How to Set Up Your onX Hunt App for Morel Hunting

While understanding where morels are likely to be found is critically important, utilizing the tools provided by onX Hunt can give you an edge as you begin your search. Note that the screenshots shown below are to be used for reference only—there’s no guarantee that you’ll find morels in the areas shown.

Using the onX Hunt iOS or Android Mobile App

Step 1: Click the link below to create an account and begin your free 7-day trial. Enter a valid email address and password, then select ‘Start Your Free Trial.’ After successfully creating an account, select the state in which you intend to hunt morels.

onX Hunt screenshot showing how to create an account on a mobile device.

Morel Mushroom Hunting Map App

Pinpoint locations from home. Take onX Hunt into the field. Start your free trial—no credit card required.

Start MappingStart MappingStart Mapping

Step 2: After creating an account you’ll be prompted to download the onX Hunt App from either the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Go ahead and download the onX Hunt App. If not prompted after creating an account, searching ‘onX Hunt’ either app store will work too.

Step 3: Once you’ve downloaded the Hunt App, log in with the email address and password you used to create your account.

Step 4: Turn on public and private land boundaries by tapping on the ‘Map Layers’ button, selecting your state and turning on the state’s Private Lands and Gov Lands Layers.

onX Hunt screenshot showing Public and Private Land Layers.

Step 5: This is a big one. Turn on the Historic Wildfire Layer—this is the starting point for many successful morel hunters. To turn on this layer, tap the ‘Map Layers’ button, scroll until you see the ‘Hunt’ folder, tap the up arrow to open the Hunt Layers folder and scroll down until you see the Historic Wildfires Layer. Then, tap to turn it on. Once you return to your map, you’ll be able to see where wildfires have occurred, how intense they were and the year in which the land burned.

onX Hunt screenshot showing the Historic Wildfires Layer.

At this point, you’re set up for e-scouting morel locations. Find the areas you want to check out and easily determine if they are on public or private land. Alternate the Basemap between Satellite and Topography to get the lay of the land, or use the Hybrid Basemap to combine both options. Then, zoom in on the areas that look promising to see them in more detail.

onX Hunt screenshot showing the Historic Wildfire Layer

Mark locations of interest with custom Waypoints. You can even change the Waypoint icon to a mushroom to distinguish your spots from locations you’ve marked for other reasons. Stay safe in the backcountry by sharing your Waypoints and other Markups with your favorite morel hunting partner.

onX Hunt screenshot showing the Historic Wildfires Layer and a morel mushroom Waypoint.
Download Before You Go

Conserve your smartphone’s battery life and leave nothing to chance by downloading Offline Maps for use when cell service is not available. Tap the ‘Off-Grid’ button, tap ‘Save New Map,’ move your map to the area you want to save and tap ‘Save’ to begin downloading your Offline Map. Remember that your position on the map will always be represented by a blue dot—even when you’re in Offline Mode.

onX Hunt screenshot showing how to download an Offline Map.
Using onX Hunt in the Field

Before you take to the woods, make sure you’ve checked the weather and determined if morels are likely to be growing. Also, confirm that you’ve downloaded Offline Maps of the area. When you arrive, set a Waypoint where you park so you can find your way back. Additionally, use the Tracking feature to plot your course as you move—this is especially helpful if you realize you’ve lost something along the way. Add Waypoints as you go to remember particular locations, and attach pictures to your Waypoints so you remember why you set the Waypoint in the first place. And remember to switch over to Offline Mode when your cell service starts to fail.

onX Hunt screenshot showing a Track and Offline Mode
How To Conserve Smartphone Battery Life While Using onX Hunt

onX Founder Eric Siegfried used the onX Hunt App on a 10-day hunting trip in Alaska—find out how he did it. Also, learn some additional tips on saving battery life while using the onX Hunt App.

E-Scouting Using Web Map

During your e-scouting and planning phases, consider using the desktop version of onX Hunt, the Web Map, to take advantage of a larger screen and all the features discussed above. Open any web browser, head to the onX Hunt website and select ‘Log In’ in the upper-right corner.

Once you’ve logged into the Web Map, turn on public and private land boundaries as well as the Historic Wildfires Later. Mark locations using Waypoints—they’ll sync seamlessly to a mobile device logged into the onX Hunt App under the same account.

onX Hunt Web Map screenshot showing how to prepare for morel mushroom hunting.

Additional onX Hunt App Features Morel Mushroom Hunters Might Find Useful

Wind & Weather

Markups (Waypoints, Lines and Shapes)

Access and Road Status

Trails, Trail Slope and Trail Mileage

A Final Note on How to Pick Morel Mushrooms

Coming home with a full sack of morel mushrooms can be one of the highlights of spring, and the feeling of satisfaction that comes with finding a patch of woods full of morels is hard to beat. Check the regulations in your area to make sure you’re on the right side of the law, learn to distinguish between real and false morels and plan ahead to make sure you’re concentrating your search in the right spots. Good luck on your hunt.

BYO Morel Mushroom Hunting Maps

Now that you know where morels grow, mark those locations on a map. Start your free trial—no credit card required.

Try onX TodayTry onX TodayTry onX Today

References

MeatEater - The Total Guide to Morel Mushroom Hunting

MeatEater - Regional Strategies for Morel Mushroom Hunting

Practical Self Reliance - Morel Mushrooms: How to Find and Identify Morels

Field & Stream - A Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Morel Mushrooms

Outdoor Life - 12 Tips for Finding More Morel Mushrooms This Spring