I don't visit the Rockies enough to have firm beliefs about the mushroom hunting possibilities here, but this is what I've gathered so far. August is generally the month to check your porcini spots. If it's not a drought year and normal patterns of afternoon showers prevail, start looking a few days after the rains start. Go high. Get above the lodgepole pine forests into more mixed coniferous forests, especially spruce. Here's a shot of a "king with a view" just below an 11,000-foot pass in the Zirkel Wilderness.
A mushroom hunter from Seattle would be forgiven if he was confused by the taxonomy of these kings. Though clearly an edible form of bolete with its white pores (in young specimens) and faint pink netting on the stipe (reticulation, in the parlance), these kings routinely exhibit much darker caps, sometimes a deep wine-red, that contrast sharply with the tan, sometimes pale caps of Cascade kings. Still, they are currently classified as the same species as the world-renowned kings of Italy, the Pacific Northwest, and elsewhere: Boletus edulis.
The taste, though mushroomy and choice, might not be quite as nutty as Cascade fall porcini. Which brings me to my main question: Why the lack of a commercial culture surrounding this mushroom in the Rockies? Is the territory too remote? A lack of demand? Is this subspecies of king considered inferior to other varieties and therefore not sought after? I've never seen another pot hunter around here, never a buy station, never encountered that bane of the Northwest mushroomer: the cut stem. Maybe we're far enough from Denver here to escape the competition.
To the south of me, in the pine forests of the Southwest, there's another king bolete (currently classified as its own species) that some say is the best tasting of all the world's porcini: the white king bolete, Boletus barrowsii. Supposedly it fruits earlier than other kings. One of these years I'll make a roadtrip in July to suss out this hallowed variety of porcini. In the meantime, I'm loving my quietly regal Rocky Mountain kings.