Indiana boasts a wide variety of edible wild mushrooms, including the well-known morels and puffballs. Wild mushrooms--especially morels--are considered a delicacy by some and sometimes sell for $15 to $17 per pound. Mushroom hunters therefore tend to be secretive about where they hunt. However, a few mushroom-hunting locations are well-known.
Jackson-Washington State Forest
Jackson-Washington State Forest, 78 miles south of Indianapolis, Indiana, on State Road 250, is part of what is termed the "knobs region" of Indiana, a distinct geologic and geographic area of unusual topography. The forest's 16,500 acres includes hiking trails and scenic views as well as camping, picnicking, boating, fishing and hunting. Mushrooms can be found on the ridge tops along the Cedar Tree Loop of the park's Horse Trail No. 2, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Jackson-Washington State Forest 1278 East State Road 250 Brownstown, IN 47220 812-358-2160 in.gov/dnr/
Raccoon Lake State Recreation Area
Mushrooms, as well as nuts and berries, can be found in the wooded areas of Raccoon Lake State Recreation Area, 50 miles due west of Indianapolis, Indiana, on U.S. Highway 36. The recreation area surrounds Cecil M. Harden Lake, also known as Raccoon Lake. Parke County, where the recreation area is located, is called the "Covered Bridge Capital of America" for the 36 historic covered bridges in the county. In addition to hunting mushrooms, visitors can hike trails through the woods, camp, and enjoy boating, swimming and fishing on the lake.
Raccoon Lake State Recreation Area 1588 S. Raccoon Parkway Rockville, IN 47872 765-344-1884 in.gov/dnr/
Splinter Ridge Fish and Wildlife Area
Morels, shaggymanes, puffballs and shelf mushrooms, as well as blackberries, raspberries and walnuts may be gathered from Splinter Ridge Fish and Wildlife Area, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The 2,460 acres of steep wooded hills and grasslands is maintained by the state primarily to provide quality game-hunting opportunities, and traffic over service roads and trails is restricted to walking. No camping is allowed on the property. Splinter Ridge Fish and Wildlife Area is about 100 miles southeast of Indianapolis, near Madison, Indiana and the Kentucky border.
Splinter Ridge Fish and Wildlife Area 10 miles east of Madison on State Road 56 812-346-5596 in.gov/dnr/
Mansfield Village Mushroom Festival
The historic restored village of Mansfield, Indiana, hosts an annual Mansfield Village Mushroom Festival each spring. The festival is generally held during the third or fourth weekend in April and in 2010 included organized mushroom hunts, a mushroom auction and a car show. The event is one of several seasonal festivals scheduled for the village each year. Mansfield Village is on Indiana Highway 59 about eight miles south of Raccoon Lake State Recreation Area and 50 miles west of Indianapolis, Indiana.
Mansfield Village Mushroom Festival Mansfield, IN 765-653-4026 mansfieldvillage.com
Brown County State Park
Brown County State Park near Nashville, Indiana, is the site of an annual spring morel mushroom festival that includes a hunt for the elusive mushroom, lectures and demonstrations by biologists, naturalists, park rangers, and chefs, art and music. The state park is about 50 miles south of Indianapolis on Indiana Highway 46, west of Interstate 65. The fourth annual festival was May 1, 2010. The event is scheduled for April or May each year because it is only during those months that morels can be found in the area. Participants get to keep the morels they find.
Brown County State Park 1405 S.R. 46 W Nashville, IN 47448 812-988-6406 in.gov/dnr/
- Indiana Department of Natural Resources: Jackson-Washington State Forest
- Indiana Department of Natural Resources: Cecil M. Harden Lake, Raccoon State Recreation Area
- Indiana Department of Natural Resources: Splinter Ridge Fish and Wildlife Area
- Indiana Department of National Resources: Brown County State Park Morel Mushroom Festival
- spring mushroom image by Vasiliy Koval from Fotolia.com