In Greek mythology, a labyrinth was built to hold a monster called the Minotaur, but in real life, these winding trails are a therapeutic tool intended for mindful, meditative walks. And with World Labyrinth Day happening on May 6, that’s exactly what we recommend. These five paths are mind-quieting mini-escapes.
1. Hartung Park
MENOMONEE RIVER PARKWAY AND WEST KEEFE AVENUE, WAUWATOSA
Tucked in the center of a hilly park, this brick-lined labyrinth overlooks a two-acre pond. The 87-foot design resembles a giant ancient coin, its neutral tones and two-dimensionality contrasting with the surrounding greenery.
2. Mount Mary University
2929 N. 92ND ST.
Just a stone’s throw from Hartung Park, another rock-lined labyrinth lives on the east side of Mount Mary’s Bloechl Center. Trees cast some shade over the gravel path made up of 11 circuits, or loops. Three benches at the center are engraved with leaf motifs and sculpted bird figures.
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3. Alice’s Garden Urban Farm
2136 N. 21ST ST.
Native Wisconsin plants densely line the circuits of this 45-foot labyrinth, often spilling over into the walking path. Expect to share your journey with the likes of bees and dragonflies – it’s no surprise that the urban farm calls this a “living labyrinth.” Visitors can follow the path with a weekly guided reflection.
4. Lynden Sculpture Garden
2145 W. BROWN DEER RD., RIVER HILLS
A hand-painted sign at this labyrinth’s entrance reads, “Walk slowly, breathe deeply and turn inward.” Shrouded in trees in Lynden’s southwest corner, this 69-foot path is sculpted on a slope, with each of its five circuits taking you up and down the grassy hill. Lynden’s artist-in-residence Jenna Knapp chose to leave the land as undisturbed as possible by carving the path directly out of the native prairie.
5. West Bend Labyrinth Garden
800 N. MAIN ST., WEST BEND
This gem is a labyrinth, garden and memorial all in one. A towering dragonfly sculpture welcomes visitors to stroll the seven-circuit grassy path lined with hundreds of herbs, perennials and annuals. Celebration stones, engraved with names of passed loved ones or joyful comments, encircle the labyrinth.
Walk With Intention
How to get the most out of your labyrinthian journey
While mazes have ambiguous layouts with twists and turns, labyrinths follow a unicursal path coiling from the entrance to the center. So reaching the middle actually marks the halfway point of your walk. If you’re new to such a path, try approaching it with an open mind. Consider setting a purpose for your walk, then find a comfortable pace and pay attention to your breath. Pause once you’ve reached the center to reflect and ground yourself. On the winding, two-way path, you may encounter others on their own journeys. It’s perfectly acceptable to pass them or allow them to pass you. Just allow them space and respect their inward meditative state.