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Practice Your Navigation Skills ... In a Corn Maze

Posted by Kindra at Oct 20, 2014 11:40 AM |
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Turn a fun fall tradition into a great, safe way to practice navigation with your friends and kiddos. One farm lets you hike Washington's PCT route in their maze.

Corn mazes are a fall tradition in my family. They're pure fun. But they can be something more: a great way for a family to practice the route-finding skills that translate to trail on family hikes.

This year's maze proved to be doubly educational.

Thru-hike Washington's PCT in 10 minutes

The Farm at Swan's Trail's in Snohomish provides a unique opportunity to hike Washington State via a corn maze. This giant map of Washington is a 12-acre corn field with 4.5 miles of path for you to explore. You make your way from one of the four starting points in Eastern Washington toward Gray's Harbor, the maze's exit, by navigating the state's road system.

Along the way, you pass towns and local landmarks including a cutout of the Grand Coulee Dam and tiny versions of Washington's Stonehenge and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. You can stop and read short histories of these places as navigate towards the exit or take your time and try to find every landmark in the maze.

My group even thru-hiked the Washington section of the Pacific Crest Trail—or at least we tried to. In true corn maze fashion, there are some dead ends, but they just added to the challenge of finding the next feeder trail.

Find a corn maze adventure near you

Whether they are shaped like Washington state or a pirate ship, corn mazes can be a great way to cultivate your family's hiking skills. They are a fun and interactive way to help beginning navigators read a map, hone their sense of direction and foster that shared sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing an adventure. If you want to get technical about it, you can even bring a compass along.

Find a corn maze near you or share your favorite corn maze in the comments below.