Nevada may be best known for its desert landscapes and the glitz of Las Vegas, but the Silver State is also home to diverse forests that produce coveted wild chanterelle mushrooms.
These golden trumpet-shaped mushrooms have a peppery, apricot-like flavor and aroma that makes them highly sought after by gourmet chefs and mushroom enthusiasts.
Though chanterelles can be difficult to find, here are some of the best places in Nevada to forage for these culinary prizes.
The Sierra Nevada Mountains
The Sierra Nevada range extends along eastern California into western Nevada, where its pine-blanketed slopes provide prime mushroom hunting grounds.
The Toiyabe, Santa Rosa, and Ruby mountain ranges within the Sierras harbor chanterelles in late summer and early fall after rainy periods.
Concentrate your search efforts in higher elevations near Jeffrey, ponderosa, and lodgepole pines.
Look for chanterelles growing in mossy soil or clustered at the base of trees.
Productive areas to try include Mt. Rose Wilderness, Spooner Lake State Park, and Kyle Canyon in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
Encompassing 6.3 million acres across two-thirds of Nevada, the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest offers expansive terrain for chanterelle foraging.
The forest’s higher mountains in the Ruby, Toquima, Monitor, Toiyabe, and Santa Rosa ranges provide prime mushroom habitat.
Search for chanterelles near pine, fir, and spruce trees in drainages and along trails.
Some specific sites include Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway off the Ruby Mountains, Leviathan Creek north of Austin, and the Pine Forest Range Wilderness in the western part of the forest.
A permit is required for mushroom harvesting in the forest.
Spring Mountains National Recreation Area
Rising above Las Vegas, the Spring Mountains harbor surprising pockets of chanterelles within this desert-bordered recreation area.
Lee Canyon, Kyle Canyon, Cold Creek, and the Mount Charleston Wilderness are worthwhile areas to explore in late summer after rainfall.
Look for chanterelles near cottonwood, pine, and fir trees along creeks and in high country meadows.
A permit from the U.S. Forest Service is required for harvesting mushrooms here.
The Ruby Mountains Wilderness
Designated as Nevada’s first wilderness area, the pristine Ruby Mountains offer 146,000 acres of prime chanterelle territory within the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
Along the Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail and surrounding valley bottoms, chanterelles abound near wet meadows, springs, and stands of limber pine.
The populations tend to be spread out, so be prepared to cover some terrain. A permit is needed for mushroom picking in the wilderness area.
When hunting for chanterelles, be 100% certain of mushroom identification before consuming your bounty. Always exercise caution, as some poisonous mushrooms closely resemble edible varieties.
With diligent yet careful searching, you can discover
Nevada’s hidden bounty of flavorful wild chanterelles to enjoy.
Just be sure to harvest sustainably, leave some behind to spawn future generations, and savor these special gifts of the forest.
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