Changing leaves, apple trees and ... Yes. A lot of browning corn stalks. That's fall in West Michigan! Farms and orchards offer opportunities to enjoy autumn weather with hayrides, apple cider, pumpkin patches and plenty of chances to test your navigation skills in the stalks—and maybe get stalked by a ghost, goblin or ghoul (or two).
Fruit Ridge Hayrides
Considered the most advanced and challenging corn maze in West Michigan, Fruit Ridge Hayrides' 10-acre Giant Maize Quest features a new design each year by renowned maze designer, Dave Phillips.This year's theme, "Let Freedom Ring," incorporates three interactive games, perfect for all ages. Fruit Ridge also offers opportunities to pick your own fruit, find the perfect pumpkin and take a fall hayride through the farm's wooded trails and orchard. Rides are offered every 15 to 20 minutes during regular hours and last approximately 40 minutes.
Harvest Moon Acres
Let's hope you have good short-term memory for this one: Harvest Moon Acres' five-acre Giant Maize Quest Corn Maze offers twisting pathways through a "Deep Sea Adventure," featuring characters from Finding Nemo. Take a chance during the day, or explore the depths of the sea at night during "Flashlight Nights," offered every Saturday in October until 10 p.m. Campfires are available to rent, to warm up on crisp evenings. Visit the Big Red Barn for apple cider and doughnuts, or take aim and launch a pumpkin with slingshots at their Harvest Moon Saloon Shootout. Also offered are hayrides, a petting zoo and a pumpkin patch.
Get lost scaling Mt. Everest in Jacob's Farm's 10-acre corn maze. Explore during the day, or adventure through the dark on Friday and Saturday nights for "Flashlight Night," open until 9 p.m. In addition to the maze, Jacob's Farm has a pumpkin patch and offers horse-drawn wagon rides on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Browse the Farm Market for locally grown and created products, or fill up on cider and doughnuts.
New Salem Corn Maze
Enter the corn at your own risk: The New Salem Corn Maze in Dorr promises nights of dead ends, twists, turns, confusion and mayhem—all as you're stalked and haunted. You could take your chances in their Witch's Woods or join a paintball zombie hunt in the zombie attack. The ghouls only come out at night, however. During the day, explore the maze ghoul-free and test marksmanship at the paintball shooting gallery without zombies breathing down your back. You could also enjoy hayrides, animals and the five-acre pumpkin patch.
Robinettes Apple Hause & Winery
Celebrate 50 years of Charlie Brown's "The Great Pumpkin" at Robinettes, with a six-and-a-half-acre corn maze. Robinette's also offers horse-drawn hayrides each weekend through October, and its huge jumping pillow is open daily. The outdoor mountain bike trail offers five miles of loops through the orchard and rough terrain on the northern part of the farm, with very difficult climbs and turns. (Helmets and waivers are required to ride the trail.) Find tasty treats at the Apple Haus, and enjoy wine and hard cider at the winery.
Written by Cassie Westrate, West Michigan Woman staff writer.