One of the four stops you'll be making via the Regional Phenomena questline in Tears of the Kingdom is the Gerudo Desert. Home to the Gerudo, the harsh climes of the desert region have unfortunately been rendered even harsher thanks to the events of The Upheaval.
We recommend tackling the Gerudo Desert last of the four regions, as there are multiple different factors you need to tackle and consider before entering. However, you can choose to do this quest whenever you want.
As a quick note, if you are doing these quests in a different order, there may be some light spoilers in the screenshots below.
Here's how to get through the Gerudo Desert and make it to Gerudo Town.
Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom: How To Get To Gerudo Town, How To Solve Red Pillar Riddle
How to prepare for the Gerudo Region
The Gerudo region has two different types of weather for you to deal with during your time there. During the day, the arid land is scorching hot, so you'll need some food that will help you cool down, or clothes that will allow you to cool off — you can't buy any until you reach Kara Kara Bazaar, however.
During the night, temperatures plummet, meaning you need to do the opposite — keep warm. If you've been to the Hebra region and completed the Rito quest, then you know warm clothes like the Snowquill Set and warming food (spicy pepper-based dishes) are required. Check out our recipe list for suggestions.
One extra precaution to take in the desert is to bring plenty of elemental materials, such as fire fruit, shock fruit, or any stones with elemental properties. Many of the monsters in this region are weak to elemental attacks, and while you do get ways of dealing with this in the desert, it's best to be prepared.
How to get to the Gerudo Desert
The Gerudo Desert is a long ride away from Lookout Landing. It's southeast of your hub down, and south of the Hebra region, surrounded by mountains and canyons. It's a good idea to have a horse or a vehicle if you're coming directly from the Landing.
You'll pass Hyrule Field Skyview Tower, and it's also worth checking in at the Outskirt Stable and activating Tsutsu-um Shrine along the way.
From the stable, head south over the Digdogg Suspension Bridge and go through Gerudo Pass Canyon. Naia will be locking your way into the entrance (unless you decide to climb the mountains or dive into the canyon from the sky to avoid her). Answer her questions as follows:
- Stay near a fire!
- A nice, shady spot!
- Into a cave!
You'll then be able to walk into the canyon without any issues.
From the Canyon, the first thing we recommend is activating Gerudo Canyon Skyview Tower northwest of Spectacle Rock. Unfortunately, it's pretty high up, and unless you're diving down from South Hyrule Sky Archipelago or can navigate the cliffs with some clever climbing/Ascending, then this might take a while . Or at least a lot of walking.
The path is relatively straightforward, at least, but if you want to make short work of your journey, then when you get to Koukot Plateau, use Ascend and climb to get up the top of the cliffs to your south. Then you should be at the Tower. Then the Desert is directly west of the Tower, but you'll notice a huge sandstorm up ahead.
Make a stop at Kara Kara Bazaar on the way. Here, activate Mayatat Shrine and buy the Desert Voe Headband, which will help deal with the heat during the day. You can buy elemental Chuchu Jelly here too, as well as plenty of food to help with the heat.
How to get to Gerudo Town
Gerudo Town is southwest of Kara Kara Bazaar, but when you enter the sandstorm, your Purah Pad will no longer work, meaning you'll have to make it to the town without your navigational tools. It's also pretty difficult to see, and you'll have a few roadblocks along the way in the form of a new type of enemy — Gibdo.
Yep, Gibdos are back. These are similar to Re-Deads and they're invulnerable to physical attacks — until you use elemental items on them. Whether you simply throw elemental materials or fuse them to your arrows or weapons is up to you, but the elemental properties will cause the Gibdos' outer layer to melt away, revealing its boney structure and making it weak to physical attacks. The same goes for the flying Gibdo you'll spot along the way.
You might be tempted to explore the desert, but with limited visibility, we recommend you head straight to Gerudo Town. You can walk, or you can use the Sled Zonai device and a fan to sail across the desert. Stay in a straight line as much as you can, but if you get lost, use one of the updrafts along the way to glide out of the top of the sandstorm and get your bearings.
You'll know something is up as you'll be able to walk straight into Gerudo Town without being stopped. Plus it's entirely empty.
Where to find Riju
First things first, head to the back of town towards the palace and head down the stairs. You'll be stopped by a Gerudo who tells you that you can't enter. Instead, go back up and up the second set of stairs to enter the throne room of the palace. Head behind the throne to find a box with a sand seal's head on it. Use Ultrahand to remove it, and then hop inside.
You'll meet with the residents of the town, led by the guard captain Buliara, who tells you that everyone has been living under the palace since the sandstorm hit. Buliara, initially concerned as Lunk is a Voe, recognises him from Riju's (the Gerudo chief) description. She tells Link that Riju can be found in the ruins north of town. Before you leave, use Ascend to reach Soryotanog Shrine above the town to give you a fast-travel point.
Browse the shops down here and stock up on arrows, food, and elemental items if you need to, then leave via the previously blocked-off entrance and head north from town to the North Gerudo Ruins to find Riju practising her mastery of lighting.
Help her out by firing arrows — the first at the target, and the second near a target. This demonstrates Riju's ability very nicely — she'll send an electrical wave out. When you fire an arrow in that wave, lightning will strike the arrow and do huge area damage. After practising with Riju for a while, a Gerudo soldier will interrupt with news that Kara Kara Bazaar is being attacked.
Defending Kara Kara Bazaar and Gerudo Town
If you activated Mayatat Shrine, then you should be able to warp straight back to the Bazaar. As soon as you get there, a battle will start with Riju at your side.
Kara Kara Bazaar
This is more of a test of your skill than a proper fight. You'll be required to use Riju's lighting attack for the battle. If you run out of arrows, worry not — the Gerudo fighters will hand you some if you need them.
The goal here is to fend off the Gibdos by firing an arrow into Riju's lightning puddle. Wait for the lighting to reach out to a group of the Gibdos, then aim your arrow at the floor near them to send them flying. Riju has a health bar, and if it reaches 0, you'll have to start the fight from scratch.
Keep using Riju's lighting (and grab those free arrows from the warriors) until a cutscene plays, where Riju points out that the Gibdos are coming from those mushroom-shaped pillars you may have spotted on your journey into the desert. What you need to do is watch for the middle of the hive to pulse and glow purple and then fire an arrow with Riju's lightning to destroy it. When prompted, head back to Gerudo Town.
Back in Gerudo Town, talk to Riju at the top of the stairs to prepare to defend the town. There are plenty of chests and weapons for you to loot, so stack up on what you need to prepare for a big fight. You'll get Rupees, weapons, and healing items.
Speak to Teake in town to barricade any of the entrances to the town. You can also instruct the warriors to defend particular entrances. You don't have to do this, but if you're struggling with the defaults for the battle, it's worth playing around with. Speak with Riju when you're ready to start this mini tower defence-style minigame.
Once the battle starts, you'll notice three Gibdo hives surrounding the town — one to the north, one to the east, and one to the west. What you need to do is listen out for Riju's calls and follow her directions. If she says monsters are spawning east, for example, then go east.
The aim is to take out the Hives to stop Gibdos from constantly swarming. If you set barricades up, Riju should be safe for a while, otherwise the monsters can get to her and attack her. If she dies, you'll have to start again.
Pick off the three towers one by one — shoot an arrow with Riju's electricity at the pulsating mass in the centre to destroy it. Then pick off the Gibdo on the ground. There are soldiers who will also deal with them, so if you see red markers on your map swarming from a particular side, head over in that direction.
Don't forget, you can also use your own materials to take out the Gibdos if you want. But for the Hives, you must use Riju's lightning. The battle will end when all of the Gidbos have been defeated.
Afterwards, Riju suspects the Gibdos are connected to the sand. She asks you to follow her to a mural under the palace. Do so to find out what your next steps are.
How to solve the Red Pillar riddle
The stone mural depicts three towers which, when lit up, form a triangle of light. Link must solve this riddle in order to progress. The riddle reads:
"Standing back-to-back with the throne, witness red pillars across a vast sea. Unite the pillars in light to reveal the lighting stone and open the way. You who can hear my voice, come to me. I await you."
The first thing you want to do is head back to the throne room. Go behind the throne (and the sand seal box from earlier) and look directly out of the window. You'll see a pillar in the distance. Jump down and run towards it.
The first pillar, directly southwest of Gerudo Town, is at around coordinates -4036, -3133, 0053. This one is buried in sand so it's easy to use Ascend or climb up. In the centre of the floor you'll see some breakable rocks. Use a hammer weapon (or make one with one of the stones) to break them. This will reveal a light which will shine up towards a mirror and light the way.
Simply follow the beam of light (you can use the updrafts again to see where you're going) to the next pillar. You should walk past a few large rocks along the way. The light is pointing west.
Using a nearby updraft, glide over to a platform with a crank on it. You need to turn the crank around fast, so use Ultrahand or a fan to get the tower to rise out of the desert until it perfectly reflects the light in a new direction.
Follow this third beam of light to the third tower, which is already reflecting the light — just not the way you want it.
Break the floor to reveal Hover Stones and some sticks. Using Ultrahand, glue the sticks to one of the Stones and move it as high as you can. With the other Stone, suspend it in mid-air, use Ascend, and then get up to the top yourself. Then grab the stick-covered Stone and pull it up. Separate the sticks and build the crank with Ultrahand. Then, push it until the mirror reflects the light back to the first tower.
The final part
With the triangle formed, you need to head to the centre of the shape in order to complete the puzzle. Glide north from the third pillar until you see some ruins with a peculiar stone sticking out of the centre. Riju will join you.
You need to use Riju's electricity to activate the switch — so talk to her and fire an arrow at the tablet. After this, a temple will emerge out of the sand — the Lightning Temple.
After solving the red pillar riddle, you'll have unlocked the next (or first, depending on when you tackle this section) dungeon. Head on over to our guide if you want to shine a light on this place next, but if you want more hints and tips, you'll find all that and more in our Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom walkthrough.
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