This past weekend, some buddies and I caravaned to the Bozeman Hay Bale Maze for an evening of fall festivities in preparation for Halloween. From the road, the maze looked quite daunting, and we were by no means disappointed. Upon paying for our tickets, we entered the maze and were faced with our first fork in the path: a momentous decision. Our group of ten broke into partners and raced our way through the hay. My friend Ryan and I won, of course, but then re-entered the maze from the back to find the four crayon stations and color in our maps. If you get all four crayon colors on your map, you win a free piece of candy.
The end of the maze is definitely not the end of the fun. Tickets are $11 per person, $9 for ages 5-11, and free for children 4 and under. Guests have access to a ride on the hayride and the mini-train, both found in the fields directly behind the maze. For an additional cost, guests can use the power jump bungee trampoline to launch themselves 35 feet into the air and see the hay maze from an aerial perspective. Alexis Faeh, a junior at MSU studying business marketing, said, “The hay maze and hayride was so fun that I went twice in three days. It was a great group activity to spend time with friends.”
In 1998, Dale Mandeville built his first ever hay bale maze as an added draw to his parents’ pumpkin patch that opened every fall. That first maze used only 560 bales of hay and was a hit with the people of Bozeman and the greater Gallatin Valley. Since then, Bozeman Maze has created 14 mazes over the last 21 years. Nowadays, the owners use an average of 5,000 bales of hay for each maze they create. Over the years, the maze has taken on many shapes, including an astronaut, a castle, a train, a tractor, and a scarecrow.
The Bozeman Hay Bale Maze is the perfect venue for an afternoon of family fun and fall festivities. It is now closed for the season, but make sure to check it out next year at the start of October. For more information, visit www.bozemanmaze.com/index.html