Huckleberry How To
Where to Go
Many of the Northwest's best patches are on public lands, including Gifford Pinchot National Forest, North Cascades National Park, and Mount Spokane State Park in Washington; Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon; the Idaho Panhandle National Forests; and Lolo National Forest in Montana.
How to Pick
You may need a permit for picking, so check online before you go. Rangers can advise on the timing of the season, promising locales, harvest limits, and ways to identify hucks. (For instance, look for the blueberry-like crown.) While there are no known toxic look-alikes, Stephen Baker at the U.S. Forest Service advises, "When in doubt, don't eat it."
What to Bring
For two-handed picking, bring a container that you can clip to your belt or hang around your neck. Don't forget sunscreen, non-DEET bug spray, and enough water for drinking and washing up. Be aware that bears are also drawn to berries. Ask a ranger about recent sightings, make noise while hiking and picking, and consider buying bear spray that you can carry on your belt.
Where to Celebrate
You'll find plenty of huckleberry treats at festivals, which in 2019 include those in:
North Powder, Oregon July 27
Trout Creek, Montana Aug. 9–11
Whitefish, Montana Aug. 9–11
Wallace, Idaho Aug. 16–17
Rhododendron, Oregon Aug. 17–18
Bingen, Washington Sept. 6–8