Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) in captive and free-ranging cervids in the USA; its origin is obscure. Archival formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded specimens of 16 captive mule deer brains with CWD were analyzed using immunocytochemistry for the disease-associated prion protein (PrP). The most prominent pattern of PrP deposition were plaque-like structures, a substantial proportion of which were florid plaques surrounded by a rim of spongiform vacuoles. The percentage of florid plaques was highly variable according to region, ranging from 0% to 52.7%. The highest percentage was observed in the medulla and basal ganglia, the lowest in the cerebral cortex. Only three brains contained no florid plaques. There were also punctate synaptic-type and perivascular deposits, particularly in areas of severe spongiform change, and subpial and subependymal plaque-like deposits, whereas cerebellar involvement was mild. Thus, CWD brain pathology prominently features florid PrP plaques, as does variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), but differs in other characteristics from vCJD.