How to Successfully Escape from a Corn Maze

Photo Credit: Unsplash, Chris Bair

It’s that time of year where you take the kiddos to the pumpkin patch! Fall festivals and pumpkin picking can be a great way to enjoy family fun time.

But chances are you’ll visit a place that has the dreaded corn maze. A big one, with all the twists and turns…and you might get lost. Without a birds-eye view of the monstrosity, it’s easy to get trapped.

That’s where this trick comes in, provided by Kotaku. Nathan Fouts works in the gaming industry where he creates mazes for a living. Given his experience, his maze-related advice is top notch. He recently visited an Indiana farm, explaining, “With my interest in puzzles and design, I was eager to explore in a real maze. I hadn’t been through a corn maze in many years. But as I crested the hill to overlook the massive, 12 acre field, a tiny worry crept into my mind.”

But he still had to try it.

“We were given a map of the maze, which was reassuring, but, again, following a paper map is a bit trickier than following dynamically updating directions in your car. As we made our way through the maze, full of dead ends, and twists and turns, a new thought dawned on me: We’re safe. If we simply follow the wall. If we always take a right turn, and never change, we’ll get out easily.”

And they did! He used the “wall follower rule” to successfully exit the maze. Per his advice, making turns in the same direction will get you there. It doesn’t matter if you always turn right to follow the wall or always turn left, as long as you turn the same way every time. Just make sure you don’t get confused and veer off course.

Here he provides us with a basic map to illustrate his technique.

Photo Credit: Kotaku

“Imagine holding your right hand against the wall. If you happen to find a dead end, turn 180 degrees. Now with your right hand on the other side, exit the dead end, and eventually turn to the right and down a new path.”

Since corn mazes typically start and end on the outside walls of the maze, traveling the “wall” will get you out. Here it is in “action”.

Photo Credit: Kotaku

Seems simple enough!

But…there is a catch. Not all mazes are structured like this, meaning not all have parts that are connected to the main frame. You could find yourself in a maze with an island or a bridge that will make you re-think this technique.

“If there are bridges or passovers within the maze, the wall follower method may still work, or may not. It depends on if the bridge deposits you into a maze island, that is separated from the outer wall.”

The most important thing, though, is that the maze has to start and finish at an outside wall for this technique to help you. If the ‘end’ of the maze is somewhere in the middle, then you’re out of luck.

Also, if you’re in a haunted maze, you have to remember to keep following the wall and turning the way you decided even when you’re being chased…which might be tough.

But, honestly, don’t worry if you get lost! Just have fun and enjoy the challenge of finding the exit. If you need to escape, you can always walk through the stalks of corn until you come to a row then follow the row to the end of the field. Good luck!