Fort Custer Maze

Coordinates: 43°08′14″N 93°21′23″W / 43.1373°N 93.3564°W / 43.1373; -93.3564

The Fort Custer Maze was a 2-mile (3.2 km) long maze enclosed within an 1850s western style fort located in Clear Lake, Iowa.[1] It closed in October 2015 after being in operation for 15 years.[2]

Fort Custer Maze


Portsmouth resident and maze book compiler Adrienne Fisher was the maze's designer.[3] The owner was Jack Kennedy, who wanted to have an original name for the fort, but he found out later that there was already a Fort Custer Training Center for National Guards.[2] It was built with more than 250,000 feet (76,000 m) of wood pallets. The maze was spread over close to two acres with paths totalling nearly two miles in length.[3] To show visitors out of the maze if they had trouble, there was a lookout tower and stations.[2] It took 90 minutes on average to clear the maze, but some visitors could complete it within 30 to 45 minutes.[4]

The maze had a different design each week.[5] It included pictures of Doc Holliday and of stuffed bears.[2] The maze also had an inflatable bouncer for children to play on.[6] During Halloween, there was a haunted maze, and during the summer, weekly prizes for participating in a competition within the maze.[3]

A visit to the maze was positively reviewed by Roadside America, and although its writer Kara S. McCoy did not recommend the maze for children,[4] it was recommended by Family's Day Out as a place for children.[6]


The near-91-year-old owner Kennedy stated that he maintained the maze "for more than 1,000 hours every summer" and that "it’s time to stop".[7] He said, "I've been very happy, happy every hour I've spent here". It was in operation until late October 2015.[2]


  1. ^ Spence, Charlie. "Mason City—The Music Man's Home". World Travelers of America. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e Fiorini, Courtney (August 21, 2015). "Fort Custer will close: 90-year-old owner finds the end of the maze". Globe Gazette. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Erickson, Lori (June 5, 2010). Iowa Off the Beaten Path: A Guide to Unique Places. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 146. ISBN 9780762765614.
  4. ^ a b S. McCoy, Kara (July 3, 2015). "Clear Lake, Iowa: Fort Custer Maze (Closed)". Roadside America. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  5. ^ Whye, Mike (2004). The Great Iowa Touring Book: 27 Spectacular Auto Tours. Big Earth Publishing. p. 68. ISBN 9781931599351.
  6. ^ a b "Fort Custer Maze". Family's Day Out. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  7. ^ "Fort Custer Maze in northern Iowa to close after 15 years". Omaha World-Herald. Associated Press. August 24, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2017.