It wouldn’t be autumn in Wyoming without the annual Ellis’ Harvest Home corn maze, an elaborate 8-acre labyrinth designed to be a little bit scare, little bit haunting and all fun.
It’s a huge effort for the folks at the eastern Wyoming farm, but worth it.
“A lot of work,” said Dan Ellis of Ellis’ Harvest Home, located 2 miles west of Lingle on U.S. Highway 26.
For the 16th year, Ellis’s Harvest Home has grown a massive and intricate 8-acre corn maze to delight anyone who loves fall adventures. And they’ve ensured that there’s something for everyone on the farm this year.
Corn mazes have come a long way in the 21st century. While the corn is still grown the old-fashioned way, Ellis has some high-tech help when it comes to planning and implementing the design into his cornfields.
“We’re associated with MAiZE Inc. out of Utah,” he said. “We come up with the image, they have a computer program that turns it into a line drawing with all the zigzags, and we plant (the corn).”
The entire design was marked on the cornfield in June when the cornstalks were just a foot high. Once the nonessential cornstalks were removed from what would become the pathways, the rest were left to grow to their current height of 9 feet.
In the past, the Ellis’ Harvest Home corn maze has come in the form of a thresher in 2022, a cheerful cow in 2021 and the Charmin Bears in 2020. Other designs include migrating geese, Wyoming’s iconic bucking horse and rider Steamboat, and Halloween jack-o-lanterns.
This year, the design is a sun with the phrase: “It’s Always Sunny on the Farm.”
“We have a saying amongst ourselves that things are different in the yard, but we didn’t know if that would translate as well, so it’s always sunny on the farm,” he said.
Every visitor will contemplate that message since they’ll have to walk through each letter to get through the 8-acre maze. There are no Halloween jump scares or monsters waiting inside the maze, which means the only thing to be afraid of is overconfidence in one’s ability to navigate through.
The prospect of getting lost in a massive corn maze might not be everyone’s idea of a good time.
That’s why Ellis’ Harvest Home has several other activities, including a much smaller hay maze, corn boxes, a spider web, grain cart basketball, a wall throw, a petting zoo and two humungous jumping pillows.
Food is available on-site at The Feed Bunk Café and The Bean Bin. Ellis and his family have added more concessions this year as the interest in their fall festival keeps growing and more people attend.
The corn maze is $12 for ages four years old and up. Children 3 and younger are free, but Ellis doesn’t see many 3-year-olds traversing the entirety of the maze.
“Most 30-year-olds can’t make it through the maze. The 3-year-olds go in, walk around for a little bit, then come back out and play in the corn boxes or feed grain to the goats and alpacas,” he said.
At its core, Ellis’ Harvest Home is a traditional Wyoming family farm raising corn, kettle beans and alfalfa. The annual corn maze is a fun diversion to supplement the farm in the fall.
“It’s a lot of work, more than just the month of October,” he said. “We’re working on it year-round. It does alright.”
The 8-acre maze is next to an 11-acre pumpkin patch. Ellis said the farm’s fall traditions started as an on-the-farm pumpkin patch that kept growing into what it is today.
“That’s generally more than we need,” he said about the massive pumpkin patch. “But we like to overproduce so we can be picky about what we pick. We like to have nice pumpkins, and they are pretty nice this year.”
Ellis’ Harvest Home is open to the public 2-6 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. Anyone wanting to wander through the maze or enjoy any of the fall fun will need to get there soon. The last day for this year’s maze is Oct. 29.
Correction: A previous version of this story said the Ellis' Harvest Home pumpkin patch is Wyoming's longest-running patch. Son Harvest Seasons near Riverton has been around about 30 years and has had a corn maze for 21 seasons.