On a beautiful September day of blue skies and puffy clouds several weeks back, I visited my old home turf around Bangor for some outdoor adventuring, which included a hiking tour of the Bangor Trails system followed by some youthful meandering through the twists and turns of a corn maze, a highly recommended combination of autumn fun.
The red maples were already turning color as I hiked along Kenduskeag Stream Trail, a surprisingly wild 2.5-mile jaunt from downtown to Kenduskeag Stream Park.
Next on my agenda was Prentiss Woods, where 1.5 miles of paths thread through the white pines and hemlocks of the 26-acre preserve. I concluded my nostalgic walkabout with a mile-long saunter through Brown Woods, a 28-acre gem on the edge of town.
Eight miles northwest of Bangor on Route 222 in rural Levant is Treworgy Family Orchards, well known for its corn maze, an annual tradition for sixteen years. This year’s theme is “the Good Knight and the Dragon,” and I enjoyed a delightful hour of child-like fun negotiating the maze among a handful of happy maze enthusiasts, successfully finding all six waystations en route.
Back at the combination farm stand, gift shop and café, I presented my ticket for a free ice cream cone and sat in the shade to celebrate my accomplishment. Before heading home, I picked out a nice pumpkin and grabbed a half-peck of MacIntosh apples, admired the draft horses and goats, and gave a big wave to the hay wagon full of smiling folks trundling by.
Here are some other hiking and corn-maze combinations around Maine:
Peaks-Kenny State Park in Dover-Foxcroft encompasses 839 acres of mature woodlands and a mile of shorefront on Sebec Lake. Among the five miles of hiking paths, the Birch Mountain Ledge and Brown’s Point trails combine to give you a good look around. A half-hour south is Thunder Road Farm in Corinna, operated by the Peavey family since 1939. This year’s corn maze has a haunted house and Halloween pumpkin theme. There’s also a corn box, tire swing and bean-bag toss, plus a farm stand with fresh fruits and veggies.
Mount Agamenticus in York is part of a 10,000-acre conservation region of coastal woods and hills. An extensive network of foot trails crisscrosses the mountain, offering hikes of a varying duration and difficulty level. Combine the Ring Trail and others for a loop walk over the historic summit. Also in York, Zach’s Farm has been in the Zacharias family since 1977. A 20-minute hayride delivers visitors to the Great Corn Maze, set amid 17 acres of cornfields.
On the Saco Beach Loop in Saco, part of the Saco Bay Trails system, hikers can stroll along Ferry Beach, tread through mixed woods and past a salt marsh, and visit a rare tupelo swamp via a 4-mile circuit. A few miles west at Pumpkin Valley Farm in Dayton, the corn maze theme is “K-9 Heroes,” as the labyrinth of pathways leads maze goers to the outline of a German Shepherd. A corn launcher, cow train, hayride and pumpkin patch add to the fun.
Pineland Farms in New Gloucester is a working farm with educational programs and recreational opportunities aplenty. Eighteen miles of trails wind through the 5,000-acre property of woods and fields, offering trekkers many options. Post-hike, meander through the 4-acre corn maze, then stop in at the farm market and welcome center, and peruse the lovely gardens. The Haunted Woods Walks on Oct. 21 and 22 and Harvest Festival on Oct. 22 are always fun events.
The distinctive west face of Streaked Mountain astride the Paris-Buckfield-Hebron town lines is visible for miles around. A steep trail ascends to extensive open ledges on top, where more off-trail wandering is possible. A few miles east, at Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner and Wallingford Fruit House in Auburn, the Ricker family has been growing apples for eight generations. Both locations have traditional hand-cut corn mazes, plus pick-your-own apples, a farm store and bakery, a petting zoo and mini-golf.