For May 2022, we will be doing Saturday forays to find morels in the Pollock Pines area, on the edge of the Caldor Fire burn area, every Saturday in May. Forays usually last about 3 hours, and will involve hiking at high altitudes in cold conditions. Please dress appropriately, wear good hiking shoes, and don't forget your mushroom basket!
Burn morels occur in the Spring in the pine forest mountains on the West coast above 3000 feet where a forest fire occurred in the prior few years. They are fairly predictable, and usually abundant. Also you can sometimes find Spring Porcini in unburned conifer forests at the same time. Porcini are usually a couple weeks after morels, but they sometimes overlap. In California, there have been many forest fires in the last few years, and many places where burn morels should occur. However, they do require rain! That's pretty uncertain these days. Snow melt will also provide moisture, but morels will be much less abundant without Spring rains.
The Caldor fire unfortunately burned a large area of the El Dorado National Forest, along with many homes and businesses. Please be respectful, stay off private property, and be careful. Burned areas can be dangerous and unpredictable.
Mushroom Collecting Permits are not needed if you're collecting a small amount for yourself. If you wish to collect a lot, or sell/trade mushrooms, you need to pay for an El Dorado Forest Products permit, in the main ranger station in Placerville during business hours.
There is no guarantee we will find morels. Nature is in control, and we cannot predict exactly when morels will pop up. But, you will learn how to find them, and what to look for, and where to look.
Morel forays are on Saturdays at 10am, somewhere near Pollock Pines in the El Dorado National Forest. So, you may need accommodations in the area. Here's a few choices to consider:
Camping at Sly Park/Jenkinson Lake - 191 campsites for tents, trailers, RV's, groups, and even equestrians. Many are waterfront sites (see map).
This facility is run by the El Dorado Irrigation District, so they have their own reservation system.
National Forest Camping: Generally, you can camp for free in national forests, but recreational passes are a good idea. El Dorado National forest allows free camping for up to 10 days in undeveloped areas. Fire pit permits are required.
Activities and Local Hotels: Refer to the Visit El Dorado website
Pollock Pines and Placerville Hotels:.
Westhaven Inn (~120.00) 5658 Pony Express Trail, Pollock Pines • (530) 644-7800
Best Western Stagecoach Inn (closed until June) 5940 Pony Express Trail, Pollock Pines • (530) 644-2029 Motherlode Motel (~108.00 - Patrick says its "utilitarian") 1940 Broadway, Placerville • (530) 622-0895 Historic Carey House Hotel downtown Placerville (~179.00) 300 Main St. • (530) 622-4271
Best Western Plus Placerville Inn (~260.00) 6850 Green Leaf Drive, Placerville • (530) 622-9100
25 miles away from Pollock Pines is Cameron Park, and a bit further is El Dorado Hills and Folsom:
Quality Inn & Suites Cameron Park (~140.00) 3361 Coach Lane, Cameron Park • (855) 516-1090
Americas Best Value Inn Cameron Park (~96.00) 3444 Coach Lane, Cameron Park • (530) 677-7177
Holiday Inn Express & Suites El Dorado Hills (~180.00) 4360 Town Center Blvd, El Dorado Hills • (916) 358-3100
Hampton Inn & Suites Folsom (~240.00) 155 Placerville Rd, Folsom • (916) 235-7744
Here are some extra resources about morels: