How To Find Morels in Alberta- Part 1- Learn & Listen

PinSave to Favorites

This post may contain affiliate links. See my privacy policy for details.

**Disclaimer** This is NOT a mushroom identification/field guide. I highly suggest that you take a mushroom course with an expert at a local college or join your local Mycological society and learn how to identify Morel mushrooms.  This is how to find morels, not identify them. This simply an aid to those who have already learned how to properly and safely identify this mushroom.  **

Morel Mushroom hidden in grasses

Ah, the morel mushroom.

To those in the mushroom know, merely saying the name brings up visions of traipsing through the woods, fervently hunting these culinary gems with the knowledge weighing heavily upon your shoulders that you only have mere weeks every year to harvest this famed mushroom.

I wrote yesterday about how it’s a family tradition to go hunting morel mushrooms  every spring, whether it’s here in Alberta or Manitoba, depending on where we are at the harvest time.

While I am not an expert by any means, I did receive many, many questions about my weekend mushroom pursuits and promised a few people that I was going to write what I could about what I’ve learned over the years.

So here goes everything and nothing at the same time.

close up of morel mushroom hidden in grasses

1) Learn when morels usually start popping out of the ground in your specific area.

This can be found by searching online and while people won’t tell you where they are finding morels, you are certainly going to hear when they are finding them! If nothing else, we mushroom hunters like to crow to all that will listen about our success and for valid reason; mushroom foraging can be a thankless, fruitless and frustrating pursuit some days.Almost every time you find them will be matched with a less successful outing.

In central Alberta around the Red Deer area it has been the past two weekends, from June 1st to the 8th. We found beautiful, fresh morels the weekend of June 1st and this past weekend a mixture of fresh and slightly dried morels. This usually means that the season is peaking for that area, when you find older morels mixed with new. We will be going out next weekend to make sure that we get every single one however!

If you are looking out towards the mountains, then things get going a week or two later. It all depends on ground temperature, precipitation amounts and sunlight.

Easy as falling up a set of stairs, right?

2) Listen to those old Ukrainian Baba tales, with a grain of salt.

It has been said for many generations in my family that when the wild strawberries blossom, the wood violets are in bloom and the poplar trees have leafed that it’s time to start looking for morels. This sage wisdom of my elders is always bang on, but the “grain of salt” in this advice is that morels will appear any time after this happens, not at the exact same time. The strawberries have been in bloom since May 25th (at least the first I saw of them) so thus we have been foraging since May 25th with success finally coming to us the weekend after.

close up of wood violets

The wood violets are the easiest to spot with their beautiful purple hues hovering just above the ground in the spring.

3)Figure out where you are going to search.

Know someone who has a farm and will let you traipse about? Live in a city with large treed parks and natural areas? If not you might just have to look up where there is Crown Land to go and search on. Crown land is owned by, as it sounds, the crown, but is open to the public. Check the regulations before you go, some land you have to get permission to forage on. The same goes for provincial parks, the regs have changed so that you can ask for verbal permission from a conservation officer to forage in a provincial park. Most have areas that have been cleared slightly to put in campgrounds and paths making it perfect for morel hunting. The amenities don’t hurt either, having an outhouse close by lets you mushroom hunt all day long!

Next up tomorrow, the where and the how’s of hunting for morel mushrooms in Alberta!

Thanks for reading everyone!



Learn to cook like the Kitchen Magpie

A Very Prairie Christmas Bakebook

Cookies, Candies, Cakes & More: Vintage Baking to Celebrate the Festive Season!

Learn More

a copy of Flapper Pie cook book

Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky

A Modern Baker’s Guide to Old-Fashioned Desserts

Learn More

The Prairie Table

Suppers, Potlucks & Socials: Crowd-Pleasing Recipes to Bring People Together

Learn More

Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Mary Dryden says

    Right in my yard… 🙂 love living in the bush

  2. BuddErickson says

    Wow i didnt realize the morel season was so short. I missed my chance this year I guess. I even went to the mushroom festival in Sicamous last year. I should’ve known better ><. Thanks for sharing your slice of mushroom wisdom with us 🙂

  3. ACanadianFoodie says

    Just so  you know – you do have a friend who would love to go along just to learn… not one mushroom would she take. 



  4. CookTheStory says

    I am so jealous of the wonderful mushrooms you have near you. My mom goes mushroom picking in Manitoba all the time. I rarely am there to get the fresh pickings but she always dries some and freezes some so that there are lots for me to taste and for making into a gravy to serve over perogies on Christmas Eve.

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      @CookTheStory Oh yes! Morel gravy! We barely use them for anything else, the gravy is so precious!

Leave a Comment or Recipe Tip