The Forbidden Woods are one of the most treacherous areas in all of Bloodborne, and even making it to them alive is a challenge in itself. In this Bloodborne Forbidden Woods guide, we'll be walking you through how to find the Forbidden Woods, as well as revealing the Forbidden Woods password, all with the end goal of defeating the Shadow of Yharnam boss.
Just in case you need anything else at all on Bloodborne, including how to beat every boss and overcome every complex area in the game, head over to our Bloodborne guides walkthrough hub.
How to Find the Forbidden Woods in Bloodborne
Return to the Grand Cathedral lamp after defeating Vicar Amelia. If you haven't done so already, examine the object sitting on the altar at the end of the room. This initiates a cut-scene that gives you a password for a door in the Cathedral Ward.
Head out of the room and take out the five Gravekeepers and Axe Reaper on the stairs below, then circle around to the left to kill the Hound. With these enemies out of the way, pull the lever near the gate at the base of the stairs to open the gate. Two Axe Reapers patrol the graveyard beyond. While the Reapers generally stay far enough part to engage them separately, if you happen to attract both, draw one back to the stairs and fight it there.
Defeat both Reapers and search all of the bodies in the graveyard to find five Madman's Knowledge items. Head through the gate on the far side of the graveyard. To the right are two more Gravekeepers, one with a flamethrower and another with a magical lantern. There's also a Crazed Crow in the far right corner near a body with a Thick Coldblood (4). To the left is a corpse holding a Thick Coldblood (5), and straight ahead is another gate with a corresponding lever in front of it. Remember the gate here because you're going to be coming back to it. Kill the enemies, then head to the right and down two flights of stairs to find a corpse in the corner holding 12 Poison Knife weapons.
Head down the stairs to the left to find two Gravekeepers that patrol the area. If you didn't pick them up earlier, there's also a corpse to the left holding a Top Hat (head attire), Hunter Garb (chest attire), Hunter Gloves (arm attire) and Hunter Trousers (leg attire). If you haven't picked up new gear at all, change into this. However, the gear that you can buy at Hunter's Dream is generally better than this set.
Don't stay close too the corpse for long, or else you'll see a portal appear that you don't want to get sucked into. The stairs to the left lead back to the Chapel. If you don't need to go back to Hunter's Dream, head back up to the gate where you last fought the Axe Reaper.
Continue down the stairs and head to the far left corner when you reach the bottom. Knock on the door here and speak to the woman twice, then send her to the chapel. When you go back to the chapel next she'll be in a chair near the lamp. Speak to her to obtain a Curtsy (gesture) and the Blood of Arianna (heals HP and boosts stamina recovery speed). There's also a gentleman at the window across the street, but you won't get much out of him.
Head down the street in the other direction as a Henchman attacks just beyond the stairs you came down. A Henchman carrying a gun and a Half-beast attack ahead. A Half-beast is essentially a Henchman that's much harder to stun and has a bit longer reach.
You'll pass two more red lanterns with people who don't talk much, then reach another set of stairs. Just as you hit the base of the stairs you'll be shot at from above. Duck into the small alcove to the left to find a corpse holding 18 Poison Knife weapons.
Quickly run up the stairs and then duck to the left and up the next stairs to find a bevy of Henchmen and a single Half-beast at the top. Only one has a gun so they shouldn't be too much trouble for you at this point. However, if you linger below, they will rush down to engage you.
There are two corpses at the top, one by the upper ledge. Waiting for you on the upper ledge are a Crazed Crow and a Leper. They can only reach you if you linger by the item closest to them and allow the enemies to move through the opening in the railing. That's unlikely to happen, but that won't stop them from trying. You won't need to dodge any attacks, just make note of their presence. Pick up the two Blood Vials and Thick Coldblood (4) from the bodies, then look to the left to see a ladder.
At the top there's a note off to the right that states, "A watchman of Byrgenwerth guards the gate with a password, the sacred adage of the Grand Cathedral."
If you don't care about the note, head back to the lever and gate you passed earlier near the graveyard with the two Axe Reapers. Pull the lever to open the gate. Go down the stairs and kill the Axe Reaper near the next gate. To the left of the gate is a corpse holding two Blood Stone Shards.
Go through the gate and kill the Crazed Crows and two Brutes down below. Just beyond the enemies in the small open area, look to the right to find a corpse holding a Monocular (zoom lens). Turn around and head to the left to find a Crow next to a corpse on the right of the path. Search the corpse to find three Blood Stone Shards.
Just ahead is a Reaper with a large ball and chain, but if you quickly run past the Reaper you'll see an Imp by the railing. If you're not quick it will get away. Kill both enemies, then search the corpse to the left to find five Blood Stone Shards.
Collect the items and head to the right and down the stairs to the left. There's a room filled with vases at the bottom, but there's nothing in them. However, head right at the end of the room to find a chest that holds a Tempering Blood Gemstone (1). You can't open the door to the left of the chest, so head all the way back to the graveyard where you fought the two Axe Reapers.
On the left you'll see another hallway. Head inside to reach the balcony where the Crazed Crow and Infected were hanging out before. Kill both, then look around to the right side of the balcony and clear away the casket to find a corpse holding two Twin Blood Stone Shards. On the other side of the balcony is a room with a corpse holding 12 Shining Coins.
Grab the coins and head down the hallway to the right. If you defeated Vicar Amelia and examined the item on the altar behind her to acquire the password, you'll see the Hunter you spoke to earlier in the game standing on the balcony ahead. There's also a corpse holding a Tempering Blood Gemstone (2) in the middle of the balcony.
Speak to the Hunter to get more information on the story if you'd like. You'll find another corpse on the stairs to the right holding an Antidote. Continue down the stairs to reach a door where you need a password. Once again, if you defeated Vicar Amelia and examined the item on the altar behind her you will have the password to open the door.
Try to speak to the man on the chair inside to gain a Madman's Knowledge, then head down the stairs to the right. Continue through the doorway at the bottom, then down the stairs ahead to reach the Forbidden Woods.
Bloodborne Forbidden Woods Guide
When you reach the bottom of the stairs, head left and follow the path around until you see a Frenzied Henchman ahead. These are similar to normal Henchmen but they're larger and a bit more fearsome. You can stun them with your gun to make the fights easier.
There are three paths that meet where the Frenzied Henchman was patrolling. Go up the hill to the right to find a corpse holding a Twin Blood Stone Shard. In the middle of the three paths is a corpse, but as you approach a Henchman attacks from above. Kill him, then search the corpse to find two Pebbles.
Don't go down the path to the left just yet. Instead, head straight from the intersection and continue up the hill. A Brute with an axe patrols this area. It's fairly easy to sneak up behind him for a Charge Attack and critical strike. At the end of the path are two corpses holding a Madman's Knowledge and Adept Blood Gemstone (2).
Head back to the junction and this time, go right to find the Forbidden Woods lamp at the bottom of the hill. Just beyond the lamp is a cell to the right. While the door won't open, there are two Crazed Crows lurking around the gravestones. Behind the Crows is a corpse holding three Antidotes. It may look like you can reach the path behind the corpse, but don't try. You will fall off the cliff no matter how many ways you approach it.
Make your way up the bridge near the lamp and kill the patrolling Henchman on the bridge and the Henchman with a rifle just past the bridge. Immediately head to the left to find a corpse around the corner behind a tombstone. Search the body to obtain a Twin Blood Stone Shard.
Return to the main path, but before you proceed any farther, hug the left side of the road as you move past the pile of lumber in the middle of the path. If you walk down the middle, a large spiked log will fall down and likely kill you. Hugging the left side of the road will prevent the trap from activating.
To the right is another Frenzied Henchman and down the hill is an area with six Henchmen and two Hounds. Kill the Frenzied Henchman, then move over to the edge of the cliff behind him. Look down and throw Pebbles at the Henchmen below. This will get the attention of the Hounds and they'll come running up the hill. With a bit of luck they'll run right into one of the fires in the area and die before ever reaching you. If not, kill them once they reach you.
With the Hounds out of the way, head down the hill along the main path to find another corpse holding a Thick Coldblood (6). From here you can see the two closest Henchmen. Throw Pebbles at them to get their attention, then take them down once they're close enough. Do not move too far forward beyond the corpse or you'll get too much attention and get ambushed.
Head back up to the cliff edge where you were before and drop down on top of the closest Henchman. Take down the last two Henchmen to clear the area with minimal health loss. Of note, the Henchmen throwing oil at you will make it very easy for the Henchman with a torch to damage you. There's an icon that appears by your health indicating that you're covered in oil. Be very careful around any sources of fire until that icon disappears. With all of the enemies down, search the corpses here to find 10 Quicksilver Bullets, a Twin Blood Stone Shard and two Blood Vials.
Continue down the path a bit further to reach a moderately open area. To the right you'll find tall grass. This is actually a hidden path. In the area beyond there's an Imp and three Crazed Crows. Kill the Imp first before it gets away, then engage the Crows. At this point, Imps now drop Twin Blood Stone Shards instead of normal Blood Stone Shards.
Go back to the open area and continue in the opposite direction to see yellow flowers lining the side of a hill. Walk through the flowers to find a Frenzied Henchman patrolling the area. Kill it, then look in the scorched house to the right to find a corpse holding three Beast Blood Pellets. Down the path to the left is a corpse with a Thick Coldblood (6).
Continue to the left after picking up the Coldblood to find a corpse down the path to the right that holds six Quicksilver Bullets. To the left is a house with a red lantern by the door. Walk up to the house and speak to the man inside to obtain the Tonsil Stone (key item) that you need to gain access to an area near the Grand Cathedral.
Behind the house is one loose Hound and several in cages (depending on how quick you are, all of the Hounds may still be in cages). Quickly kill the loose Hound, then handle the ones in cages before they break free. Continue down the path to the right at the end of the cages to find a Crazed Crow behind the building and two Hounds just ahead. If you don't see the Hounds, they will come, but for now head up the ladder behind the house to reach the roof. There you'll find three Crazed Crows and a corpse that holds a White Church Hat (head attire), White Church Garb (chest attire), Surgical Long Gloves (arm attire) and White Church Trousers/Dress (leg attire).
Chances are the White Church equipment set is lacking in defense compared to your current gear. However, it should have higher poison resistance than what you're currently wearing. This will come in handy in this area, so don't discard the clothing.
Go back to the Hound cages and continue down the opposite path into the cave ahead. Move down the ramp here, then turn around to see a corpse under the entryway. Search the body to find two Antidotes. Continue down the path and through the narrow corridor. In the large room ahead are several Reapers (most without weapons) and Poison Worms. The Poison Worms can be difficult to attack because they're small and sit low on the ground, but they go down fairly quickly once you get a bead on them.
The more pressing matter here is the fact that a poison cloud covers the ground. If you need to move through the poison, do so quickly and watch out for anything that moves. The Poison Worms are hard to see when they're covered by the poison cloud. This would be a good time to change into the White Church gear if you're worried about the poison.
When you first enter the room, there's a Reaper close enough to throw a Pebble at. Get its attention and fight it by the entrance so you don't have to worry about the poison. With the first Reaper down, move around the entrance to the right to find a corpse holding a Frenzied Coldblood (7). At this point there are two visible Reapers left, one patrolling in the distance and one to the left sitting down.
The Reaper to the left is surrounded by Poison Worms that can't be seen from the entrance. If you hug the cavern wall and move toward this Reaper you'll be able to lock-on to the Poison Worms when you get close. Throw a Molotov Cocktail to get their attention and take out as many as you can from the safety of the shoreline.
Attacking the Poison Worms will likely get the attention of the Reaper. Ideally you want to draw it to the entrance, which shouldn't be difficult with a combination of Molotov Cocktails and Pebbles. Finish it off, then head back over to the small island it was sitting on. There are more Poison Worms to the right of the island. Once again, use Pebbles and Molotov Cocktails to lure them out of the poison so you can fight them safely.
To the left of the island is a small bit of land not covered by the poison cloud. Head over to that, then toward the back wall of the cavern to see a corpse to the right. You should have cleared all of the Poison Worms in the immediate area, so run over to the corpse, pick up the Nourishing Blood Gemstone (2) and then head back to the small land above the poison.
There's a small cave just beyond the corpse, but there are also more items on the other side of this cavern. Make your way back to the entrance, then move into the middle of the cavern to get the attention of the Poison Worms that dwell there. Quickly lure them back to the entrance and finish them off.
Near the middle of the cavern is a section of land glowing green with light. On the right side of this land is a corpse that holds a Dirty Blood Gemstone (3). In the far right corner of the cavern is another small cave, but just before the cave is a small piece of land with a corpse on it. There's also a Reaper patrolling this area. Get to the small piece of land and fight the Reaper there. You may find more Poison Worms nearby if you haven't finished them all off yet.
Kill all of the enemies and search the corpse to find a Frenzied Coldblood (7). Head into the small cave just ahead and around to the left to find a path that leads up to a ladder. Climb the ladder, then head up the next ladder in the room above.
When you reach the graveyard above, search the corpse ahead to the left to find a Coldblood Dew (1). Operate the device to the left to open the gate ahead. This leads back to the very beginning of the game. If you go through the doorway to the left you would be back at Iosefka's Clinic.
For now, turn around and head through the gate in the far right corner, then down the stairs to the left. An Infected waits in the courtyard ahead. Take it down, then search the nearby corpse to find a Madman's Knowledge. Climb the ladder to the left of the well, then kill the Crazed Crows sitting just ahead to the right, and the remaining bunch on the next rooftop ahead.
Make your way into the building at the end of the rooftop but watch out for a portal that may open as you enter. Head to the left to find a Cranium Creature near the end. These guys are easy to kill so long as you don't let them attack. If they grab you they will inflict quite a bit of damage.
Continue into the room ahead to find a chest in the far right corner. Open the chest to obtain a Communion rune (carry three more Blood Vials). Head out of the room and down the hall to the room on the opposite end. There is a hallway to the left that leads to a battle against Iosefka, but you don't need to kill her just yet, and if you do kill her, you won't be able to get any more items from her. If you do wish to kill her, head down the hall and up the stairs to her room.
The easiest way to take her down is to simply use a fast weapon (anything but the axe or other heavy weapons) and attack three times, then dodge to the left or right. After you attack her three times she'll try to hit you with her tentacle attack. Dodging will allow you to avoid this while still remaining close to her. She will use Blood Vials multiple times, but as long as you maintain this stick and move strategy you will wear her down. Finish her off to obtain an Oedon Writhe rune (visceral attacks grant two Quicksilver Bullets), then head to the end of the hallway you were at before.
Open the door at the end to find another Cranium Creature standing in front of you. Sneak up behind it for a Charge Attack, then pick up the Cainhurst Summons (key item) on the medical table. You can open the door ahead to get back to the 1st Floor Sickroom lamp, then travel back to the Forbidden Woods lamp and go back to the area with the Hounds in cages.
This time, head right after the cages and go past the house, then make your way around the larger boulder to the right to find another Henchman. Kill him, then head into the house on the right to find a corpse that holds four Blue Elixir (invisible). Head out of the house to the left, then continue down the path to the right. Look behind the next house on the left to find a Death Dealer. Kill him and search the corpse nearby to find six Blood Vials.
Move around to the other side of the house to find the doorway. Look inside to see a corpse holding a Beast Roar (repel enemies). Head out of the house and continue straight to see several Henchmen standing on top of a wooden roof. Take them out, then drop down to the ledge below to find a corpse holding 14 Molotov Cocktails.
Drop down to the water below and take out the Undead Crawlers, then head to the far left to find another Frenzied Henchman to the left, next to a corpse that holds two Twin Blood Stone Shards. Directly across the water is a tunnel with two corpses that hold two Twin Blood Stone Shards. Keep moving through the tunnel and open the door at the end. Inside the next room is a corpse holding three Pungent Blood Cocktails.
Go left and exit the house and find several Henchmen ahead. Watch the wooden planks on the ground, as they indicate the location of traps. In the house straight ahead and to the left there are three Henchmen. Take them down and search the corpse there to find four Pungent Blood Cocktails.
Take out the patrolling Henchman in the area, then Henchman sitting next to the house to the right (by a corpse that holds five Blood Vials). From the corpse, you can turn around to see a stone gateway to the right of the house with the three Henchmen. Don't go through the gate since there are traps on the other side, but if you head to the right of the gate you'll end up by the Hound cages you passed before.
Since you don't need to go back there just yet, head over to the fire where the Henchmen were standing. To the left of the fire is a narrow path that leads behind the houses. Another Henchman patrols this area. Kill him and then circle all the way around to find the entrance into the second house (there's nothing in the first house). Inside you'll find a corpse that holds six Beast Blood Pellets.
Head back to the fire and continue down the path to the left to reach the water again. Go all the way down to the end of the water, then take the first path to the left to engage several Henchmen. Go up the wooden ramp to reach the roof of the house and kill the Henchman with the gun.
Continue down the path but watch out ahead, as cannonballs begin to fire in your direction. If a cannonball hits you it will almost certainly be instant death at your present level. The second house on the left has two more Henchmen, the last house on the right has two more Henchmen and the last house on the left has a Frenzied Henchman and a corpse holding four Beast Blood Pellets.
Duck into the houses to avoid the cannonball fire. When you reach the cannon, kill the Henchman behind it and then continue toward the house straight ahead. Before you enter, look around to the right side of the house to find a corpse. Search the corpse to obtain a Twin Blood Stone Shard.
Make your way into the house and down the stairs inside. Follow the path to the left and out the doorway, then drop down to the ledge below. Kill the Frenzied Henchman to the left and climb up the ladder to the narrow passage above. Move across the planks to the far side and pick up the eight Poison Knives from the corpse to the left. Head through the doorway and grab the three Poison Knives on the corpse outside.
Talk to the man in the corner to the right and send him to the chapel and he'll give you two Pungent Blood Cocktails. Go back inside and across to the last gear, then drop down to the platform below to find a corpse. Search the corpse to obtain a Cannon (secondary weapon). Drop down to the floor below, then move into the middle of the room and down the small ramp, then take out the Mutant Henchman below. A Mutant Henchman has considerably more health than a normal Henchman and its head mutates when its health is low. After the mutation it can poison you, and it has longer reach. You will also find Mutant Henchmen that are already in their mutated form.
Search the body nearby to find a Madman's Knowledge, then head to the opposite end of the area. There were stairs by the item with a lift in the next room, but the lift is inoperable at the moment. Head across the bridge to find another Mutant Henchman.
After the bridge there's a ramp heading up to the house on the right. Go up the ramp and into the house, then step on the lift inside. Continue up the stairs and search the body at the top to obtain four Antidotes. Open the gate ahead to return to the beginning of the area by the Forbidden Woods lamp.
Head back down the lift, exit the house and go up the hill to the left to find a body that holds a Twin Blood Stone Shard. Go back down the hill and follow the path to find another body holding a Frenzied Coldblood (7).
Keep following the path to encounter two Snake Clusters. These creatures can and will poison you if you allow them to attack. However, they do not have much health and are stunned by most of your attacks. Search the body to the left to find six Shining Coins, then look around to the left behind the body to find two more Snake Clusters.
Stay on the left side and continue forward to find two more Snake Clusters and another body holding a Twin Blood Stone Shard. On the right side of the path are two more Snake Clusters and two bodies holding a Madman's Knowledge and two Twin Blood Stone Shards.
As you move toward the fire ahead, you'll encounter two more Snake Clusters and a Mutant Henchman. Beyond the fire are two more Snake Clusters, a corpse with a Twin Blood Stone Shard, then two more Snake Clusters again just for good measure. Circle back around to the left to find one more Snake Cluster, then head down the middle path.
As soon as you can, swing back around to the right to find two more Snake Clusters and a Mutant Henchman by a corpse. Search the corpse to obtain two Twin Blood Stone Shards. Just ahead are two Giant Snake Clusters, which are formidable. Before you engage, circle around to the right to find two more normal Snake Clusters on the hill by a corpse. Search the corpse to find a Twin Blood Stone Shard.
The Giant Snake Clusters are hard to stun with most weapons, so use a stick and move strategy. Attack a few times, then quickly dodge back to avoid their close range attacks. They also spit venom that poisons you. Be ready to dodge this as soon as you see it coming. Luckily the Giant Snake Clusters don't have too much health, so it will only take two or three attack runs to bring them down.
Take out the first Giant Snake Cluster, then look to the right to find a corpse. Search the corpse to obtain a Thick Coldblood (6), then swing back around to the left to find another Giant Snake Cluster. This one is surrounded by four normal Snake Clusters. Luckily there's a fire right next to it. If you can get the attention of the enemies and place the fire between you and the snakes, they will move into the fire and die. If you can't set that up, use a Pebble or Molotov Cocktail to lure the smaller Clusters out and pick them off before engaging the Giant Snake Cluster.
Continue to make your way down the middle path fighting Giant Snake Clusters, normal Snake Clusters, Mutant Henchmen and even two Crazed Pigs. When you finally reach the water at the end, take out the last Pig and head to the left. Continue to the left until you reach the cave.
Inside, two Cranium Creatures wait just ahead. Pick up the Madman's Knowledge via the corpse on the hill to the left, then continue into the cave to find two Mutant Cranium Creatures that shoot magic projectiles but are otherwise easy to kill.
Pick up the Anti-Clockwise Metamorphosis rune (boosts stamina) by the creatures, then proceed deeper into the cave. Another Madman's Knowledge is found on a corpse just before you encounter a third Mutant Cranium Creature, then finally one more Mutant Cranium Creature and another Madman's Knowledge at the end of the cave.
Head out of the cave and go straight across the water to the dry land beyond. Go up the hill to the right and take down the Mutant Henchman above. Follow the path into the building and take the lift to go back to the room you were in before and connect the shortcut.
Go back outside and head down to the water. Follow the path to the left until you see the roots of a large tree to the left. Move between the roots and through the water to find several Undead Crawlers and a corpse. Kill the enemies and search the corpse to obtain a Dissipating Lake rune (reduces bolt damage by five percent).
Continue through the water killing the last three Undead Crawlers and the Crazed Pig at the end. Collect the Sharp Blood Gemstone (3) from the corpse to the far left, then head between the two fires and follow the path to the junction. The boss battle is to the left, but for now head right.
Open the gate at the end, kill the Mutant Henchman inside and collect the Clockwise Metamorphosis rune (boosts max HP by five percent) from the corpse. Head back out the way you came and follow the path to the boss battle against the Shadow of Yharnam.