Upon first glance, mushrooms appear delicate and fragile. As one looks closer into mushrooms one will find that they are strong and defend themselves well in the wild. These organisms are found sprouting along the forest floor spring through fall. The variety of mushrooms seen in the spring is different than what may be viewed in the summer or fall. There are a lot of variables to growing mushrooms but the key is moisture, temperature, and material for the spores to attach to.
During a hike at Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium, between spring and fall, one may notice a variety of brown spongy organisms protruding up from the ground. With the combination of rain and heat, mushrooms will be found popping up all over BMP. Some will be brightly colored, some will glow in the dark, and some will be rather large.
This spring, we are offering Mushroom Hikes once a month March through May. Glenda K. O’Neal has been studying mushrooms since the 1990’s. She has collected and gathered several mushrooms native and non-native to the Northeast Tennessee area. Glenda is a wonderful park volunteer and will be leading the mushrooms hikes. Get down and dirty identifying these interesting organisms!
  • Saturday, March 27
  • Saturday, April 24
  • Saturday, May 22

All hikes will begin at 10:30 a.m. and last till about noon. Length of hikes will depend on what is out. Hikes may cover as little as a half mile, or up to two or three miles—or more! Hikes will take place around Lakeside Trail and Lake Road.

Pre-registration is required by calling the park’s Nature Center at (423) 229-9447. Cost is $3 per person for non-members. Space is limited.
Closed-toe shoes are required and it is recommended all dress appropriately for the weather. Bring a mushroom field guide if you have one. No pets allowed. Meet outside in front of the Nature Center’s double doors.