Head to the North Coast for Mushroom Foraging 101

With a full schedule of mushroom info hikes at Fort Stevens State Park and a few choice vacation rentals, you have no excuse not to stay on the North Coast this fall.

By Allison Jones October 26, 2015

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Image: Allison Jones

Five minutes into Ranger Dane Osis's introduction to the major categories of mushrooms, you'll find yourself in awe—the world of fungus is just so unbelievably cool. From the bright red Amanita family that looks like it popped straight out of a Super Mario game to the area's prized White Matsutakes to mushroom spores that get ingested by insects and turn the bugs into mushroom zombies (really!), the coastal forests of the North Coast are home to a rich world of mushroom discoveries begging to be explored.

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Image: Allison Jones

Lucky for those of us who want to dip our toe into the world of mushroom foraging but still harbor fears of eating something deadly (or just plain gross), Fort Stevens State Park is hosting guided mushroom hikes through Thanksgiving. In a series of free, one-mile forest hikes, the park's expert rangers explain the area’s foraging regulations—including what makes Fort Stevens one of the best places in the Northwest to forage for certain kinds of mushrooms—and offer instruction for mushroom identification and usage. See the full calendar of hikes here. Be sure to wear waterproof shoes and dress in layers!

Interested in braving the rain for some major mushroom discoveries? You should definitely make a weekend of it. Here are three perfect rentals that are begging to keep you cozy (while giving you space to cook those mushroom finds).

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The Boat House

Image: Allison Jones

The Boat House on the John Day River: This picture-perfect floating cabin just east of Astoria sleeps four and provides a peaceful view of raindrops on the river. If you catch a sunbreak, be sure to take the canoe or paddleboat out to explore the water—you may spot some bald eagles from the nearby sanctuary. Return to your fireside rocking chairs and you'll never want to leave. Starting at $125/night; Reservations

Cedar Home in the Dunes in Warrenton, Oregon: This sweet three bedroom house sits amongst four acres of oceanfront dunes and seagrass, with a private walk to the waves and frequent visits from hawks, elk, and deer. Extra amenities of the gated community abode include an outdoor shower, fire pit, and hiking trails. It's dog-friendly to boot, so your truffle pup can come along. $309/night; Reservations

Art House/Light House in Astoria: Colorful, open, and modern, this cool space sleeps four and boasts incredible views of the Columbia River. Relax in front of the fireplace or trek down to into town for incredible beer, restaurants, ice cream, and shopping. $125/night; Reservations

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