Zelda Tears of the Kingdom: How to beat the Lost Woods and reach Korok Forest

The Lost Woods are a classic staple of the Zelda series, and they’re back in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Just because it's set in the same world as the previous game doesn’t mean that the Lost Woods are the same, however - far from it. Luckily, we’re here to help you to navigate - or rather, circumvent - them. 

You could be forgiven for taking Link over to the Lost Woods and trying to take the route that you took back in BOTW. You enter the woods from Hyrule proper, and look for clues that give you a route through the woods… but in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, we’ve at least initially found that does not work.

Every time you attempt to move in any direction in the Lost Woods, a great black fog will envelop you and teleport you back to the entrance. Something malicious is at play here. But we’ve also found a way around it…

The Korok Forest, Deku Tree, and the Master Sword's plinth all await again in Tears of the Kingdom... if you can find your way through the Lost Woods, that is.

How to get past the Lost Woods and reach Korok Forest in Tears of the Kingdom

Zelda games often love to recontextualize classic puzzles within the confines of their new systems - and the same is true of the Lost Woods. In Tears of the Kingdom, there’s two major additions to think about specifically as they relate to the Lost Woods: the addition of the Depths far below Hyrule, and Link’s new-found ability to Ascend through solid objects.

Yep, you’ve got that right: if you can’t make it through the Lost Woods to Korok Forest above ground, the next natural step is to travel to the center of the woods below ground and Ascend into the heart of the forest

This is harder than it sounds, and we recommend you don’t necessarily attempt it right away. The Depths can be unforgiving, and the Lost Woods is near the burning-hot Death Mountain area of the depths that are difficult to traverse. However, it is possible to do this from early in the game, before you even face any of the main dungeons or bosses. 

The Chasm at Minshi Woods

The best first step in this journey is to head down the Minshi Woods Chasm, to the depths.

There’s only one land path into the Great Hyrule Forest that’s home to the Lost Woods and Korok Forest, and that’s up a road just west of Eldin Canyon, which itself is at the foot of Death Mountain. Broadly speaking, this is just north-east of Hyrule Castle and the town at Lookout Landing.

The nearest stable is the Woodland Stable, which is served by the fast travel point at Ekochiu Shrine. Head here.

Just north of the Shrine and Stables you’ll find a malice-red chasm to the depths about halfway up the Minshi Woods pathway to the Lost Woods. Dive in here. You need to be careful when you jump down here, as to your east is the burning-hot Death Mountain depths, which’ll quickly sap your health. Instead, follow the underground equivalent of the pathway to the Lost Woods.

Once you reach the Rikonasum Lightroot, you'll know you're very, very close.

There’s a couple of Lightroots to light up and reveal the map for this area. Right in the middle of the area there’s Rikonasum Lightroot - and if you look up and around, this is clearly the roots of the Great Deku Tree.

From the Rikonasum Lightroot base, look around. There’s a clear plinth and platform, and above it the stone white ceiling practically has a circular target on it. It’s very, very obvious. Go there - and Ascend.

It’ll take a while - you are ascending all the way back to Hyrule, after all - but pretty soon, you’ll find yourself right in the middle of Korok Forest - at the foot of the Deku Tree.

Restoring the Deku Tree & Korok Forest

When you do ascend to the forest, you'll find the Deku Tree injured - and must battle evil spirits to free him.

Once you reach Korok Forest, it’ll become very clear why the Lost Woods themselves are completely corrupted - the forest is covered in Malice. All the Koroks you talk to are mute, and the Deku Tree can also barely talk. In order to restore the forest, you’ll need to take action.

Before you do anything, activate Musanokir Shrine nearby so that you’ve got a handy fast travel point here and won’t need to keep ascending up from the depths. 

The Deku Tree complains of a pain in his stomach. Follow the path up inside of the tree - and at the very back of the Korok living quarters, you’ll find another malice hole to the depths - the Deku Tree Chasm. This area can't be accessed from anywhere else within the depths.

Dive down here and you'll find an entirely enclosed area of the Depths in the heart of the Deku Tree. Diving down here is giving Ocarina of Time vibes, but you’d be lucky to face something as simple as Gohma down here. 

Initially nothing is here - but linger and you’ll find Malice Hands spawn - and when defeated, Phantom Ganon. You’ll want Gloom Resistance and probably a Defense Buff for this fight, depending on how deep into the game you are. 

Once Phantom Ganon is defeated, the Deku Tree and Forest are restored. Either ascend or fast travel back above.

Forest Revived - the Deku Tree, Master Sword, and Helping Koroks

After Korok Forest is purified, you can undertake a number of side quests there.

Once the forest is restored, much of it returns to how you might remember it from the previous game. Hestu even relocates here again, making this your go-to location for inventory size upgrades.

The main reason many of you might be prioritizing heading to Korok Forest is because of the Master Sword, of course. However, you won’t find it in its plinth. If you speak to the Great Deku Tree, however, he can give you a very big clue as to where to find the Master Sword. Chatting with the Deku Tree will also reveal a major story cutscene. 

Finally, the forest and Lost Woods now function ‘normally’ again. You can talk to the Koroks, who can start several side quests leading to shrines, and explore the woods at large.