Tall, faded stalks of corn loom overhead, rustling in the wind and bending to obscure the entrance to a foot path the winds away out of sight. Corn mazes sit at a delicious intersection of wholesome fall family fun and scary Halloween antics. Depending whether you go during the day or at night, with little kids, a group of friends, or a date, they have the capacity to be goofy or spooky, contemplative or terrifying, and maybe even romantic?
Anyway, these fleeting labyrinthine sculpture parks are a hallmark of fall upstate and something local farms take pride in. Here are five of the best corn mazes in the Hudson Valley plus one super scary option. Got another one that you love? Pop it in the comments section below!
Editor’s Pick: Fishkill Farms | Fishkill
While Fishkill Farms’ corn maze has always been a fun, feel-good fall draw, with money from admission going to charities in the past, this year they really outdid themselves. Aerial shots show the massive message hidden in plain sight: Reject racism. With an operation that relies on seasonal migrant workers to thrive, owner Josh Morgenthau believed it was important to broadcast an inclusive message. Sunday November 1, is the last day for PYO apples and pumpkins, and the last hurrah for this meaningful maze. The farm is open Tuesday through Sunday, 9am to 6pm. Reservations are required for both U-Pick and the corn maze, with a complimentary wagon ride included.
Dressel Farms | New Paltz
Dressel Farms in New Paltz specializes in apples with an orchard spanning more than 300 acres, plus berries and tree fruits for a sweet juicy harvest all summer long. Their U-Pick apple, pumpkin, and chestnut operation is a popular fall weekend destination—one of the larger farms in the area. A retail stand is open year-round with seasonal produce as well as farm-pressed apple cider, local honey and maple syrup and Apple Cider Donuts seasonally.
Kesicke Farm | Rhinebeck
Kesicke Farm Fall Festival runs weekends 10am-5pm from late September through November 1. The fun includes a whopping five-acre corn maze, hay wagon rides, a petting zoo, and U-Pick pumpkins (priced by size). You can also buy farm-raised beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and eggs, and fresh-baked cider donuts at the farm store. One of our readers commented, “The corn maze gets better and better every year! They really are a family farm and you can feel that when you are there.”
Hurds Family Farm | Modena
From family hayrides and U-pick apples and pumpkins to pony rides, the 120-acre Hurds Family Farm is the picture of fall fun. Wednesday through Friday you can purchase a wristband for $9 that gives you (or your kids) access to a range of activities from the obstacle course to a corn maze. To keep everyone safe, this year, Hurds planted multiple single-family mazes, so you can get lost, bump into each other, and scream without worrying about COVID, as well as a jumbo multi-group corn maze with a six-foot-wide main trail and ample large spaces for passing other groups. Online reservations are required for all farm activities.
Kelder’s Farm | Kerhonkson
With Chomsky, one of the world’s largest gnomes, watching jovially over the entrance, its myriad family activities, and sweeping views of the Rondout Valley, Kelder’s Farm is iconic. Take a turn on the jumping pillow, pet the animals, shoot the apple cannon, or play a round of mini golf after you wend your way through the eight-foot corn stalks of the two maize mazes. U-Pick apples and pumpkins are still available and the farm store is also open with its fresh produce and value-added goods. Don’t forget to reserve ahead.
Headless Horseman | Ulster ParkYou should probably leave the little ones at home for this, but for adults and teens looking for a seasonal fright, Headless Horseman’s Dark Harvest Corn Maze is deliciously terrifying. They say most who go in never come back out, so...enter at your own risk. Legend has it that Old Man Terpening found that harvesting innocent people’s blood was the only way to grow his corn crop big and tall, lending his harvest the dark coinage the Evil Reaping. Headless Horseman admission also gets you into their six nationally ranked haunted houses and other terror-inducing attractions. This year, Headless Horseman has replaced the spooky nighttime hayrides with Dare to Ride: The Horseman’s Trail, a haunted drive-through experience with a spooky soundtrack. Don’t worry you’ll be safe in your car...or will you?