Can't decide whether to choose the Underdark or Mountain Pass route in Baldur's Gate 3? Toward the end of Act 1 in Baldur's Gate 3, you will learn that the Absolute, the cult controlling the Mind Flayers, has a base set up at Moonrise Towers. Before arriving at Moonrise Towers, you are given a choice as to what route to take there.
You can either go through the Underdark, an entirely new world beneath the surface, or the Mountain Pass, a gorgeous valley in the hills of Faerun. Making choices in Baldur's Gate 3 certainly matters, so you likely struggled to decide between the two. Particularly as it might mean you don't get to experience one of the Baldur's Gate 3 locations.
As you probably already know, missing one location can mean you can't participate in certain quests, find specific items, or meet characters integral to the story. So in this guide, we will be going over which route is best to take in Baldur's Gate 3 and if the choice even matters in the first place.
Choosing between the Underdark and Mountain Pass
Fortunately for you, it does not matter which route you take. Both the Mountain Pass and Underdark are fully accessible before you ever have to decide how to reach Moonrise Towers. So, with that in mind, here are some of the highlights of each location.
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Mountain Pass route
The Mountain Pass is a fantastic location in Baldur's Gate 3. It sports scenic vistas everywhere you look, some amazing quests, and intricate areas to explore. The Rosymorn Monastery and the Githyanki Creche are the two highlights of the Mountain Pass, with the latter being vital to Lae'zel's questline and the "Find a Cure" quest in Baldur's Gate 3. It can be accessed west of Waukeen's Rest in the northwest part of the map.
As for the Underdark, you can enter it via the Defiled Temple, Whispering Depths dungeon, Zhentarim Hideout, and Auntie Ethel's basement pit in her teahouse. All of these entrances are open to you when you land on the beach.
While it's not recommended to explore the Underdark until you're around levels 4-5, you can easily venture into the region before having to end Act 1. And we suggest you explore the Underdark to the fullest, as it has several intriguing locations full of unique quests, characters, and items. There's the Grymforge, where you can begin Act 2, the Adamantine Forge, the Myconid Colony, and the Arcane Tower, all available in the Underdark.
Once you're done exploring one location, we suggest you go to the other one and see what it offers. The Underdark is much bigger than the Mountain Pass, so exploring will likely take longer. It also means there's far more for you to gain venturing into the Underdark.
Can you do both?
After experiencing both locations, you can choose which one to use to access Act 2 of Baldur's Gate 3. In the Mountain Pass, you can take a mountain trail to the Shadow Cursed Lands, while the Underdark requires you to take an elevator in the Grymforge.
If you find out you missed something after proceeding to Act 2, though, don't worry; you can go back to any of your previous waypoints. We recommend finding a waypoint in the Shadow Cursed Lands first, as this will make it easier to fast travel back there.
So there you have it, you now know everything about the two very different routes to the Shadow Cursed Lands. Now that you've decided on your path to Act 2, why not learn the best weapons before things get really spicy? Additionally, we have some handy guides on some tricky decisions, like if you should side with Madeline or He Who Was. And if you're experiencing the Shadow Curse firsthand, we've also got a guide on how to fix the broken Moon Lantern.