Get lost: Four Colorado corn mazes

Why people love to disappear, like Shoeless Joe in Field of Dreams or Harry Potter in Goblet of Fire, into the depths of a cornfield is hard to ascertain. One supposes it has to do with our overall love of fresh air and mystery, especially when accompanied by the crispy temperatures and musty, leafy smells of autumn. Whatever it is, the corn maze, whether meant to be scary or not, often is. Or else, it's just painfully boring. Either way, we maze because we must. After the jump, find out where to do it.

Chatfield Corn Maze Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield 8500 Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton 303-973-3705

Chatfield Corn Maze is like the Big Kahuna of orderliness in this whole genre of outdoor, family-friendly autumnal entertainment. And all proceeds benefit Denver Botanic Gardens conservation and education programs, which is a bonus for your karma. It's currently open from 4 to 9 p.m. Fridays and noon to 9 Saturdays and Sundays, through Halloween; families can make a day of it at the site's annual Pumpkin Festival on October 9 and 10. This year's maze is in the shape of a marmot (don't ask, just don't ask); admission is $6 to $10.

Fritzler Corn Maze and Giant Pumpkin Patch 20861 Highway 85, La Salle 970-737-2129

The Fritzler family, leaders in Colorado agritainment, have been cultivating their maze south of Greeley now for eleven years. And they do just about everything a proper agritainment machine can do to ensure a good time for all: Haunted mazes, after dark mazes, non-scary mazes, pumpkin patches, barrel trains, go karts, a hay mountain and so much more; you can even book a helicopter ride over the maze, which this year takes on a full-frontal patriotic theme: the U.S. Department of Defense logo. The maze and attractions opened last weekend and remain open until October 31; visit today through Sunday this weekend or daily, Wednesdays through Sundays, after October 1. The haunted portion of the place also debuts October 1; have fun figuring out the pricing, as it's complicated. Anderson Farms 6728 County Road 3 ¼, Erie 303-828-5210 Another big agritainment outfit on the Eastern Plains, Anderson Farms has been around even longer than the Fritzlers - they're celebrating their fourteenth season - and they do it up big, as well. In addition to the thirty-acre maze, carved from a pair of lop-sided, triangular acreages depicting a wildlife montage, the Andersons welcome visitors with gourd launchers, gem mining, hayrides to the pumpkin patch and tractor-pulled wagon rides through the shrieky Terror in the Corn haunted maze, among other things. This year, they've also added a maze game, FSI: Farm Scene Investigation, for which you'll have to find clues and check them off on a punch card; ultimately, it's kind of a real-time Clue game. Hours and admission prices vary.

Crazed Corn Field Maze & Colorado Pumpkin Patch 104th Avenue and Riverdale Road, Thornton 303-913-5947

The Crazed Corn Field Maze is twenty acres of madness, with a big side of pumpkin patch; it opens today and stays open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily except Mondays, through Halloween. Its haunted evening sideshow, Haunted Field of Screams, also opens tonight at dusk, and it isn't actually a maze, but rather a full-blown interactive haunted attraction under the stars. For true spookiness in the maze, you can opt for the Dead Man's Night Maze, one of those trips through the corn that never seem to end soon enough. See the website for pricing; as is often the case, it depends on what you get.

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd