- This article is about the Twilight Princess location. For the desert from Ocarina of Time, see Haunted Wasteland.
In Twilight Princess, the desert is only accessible with the help of a special function of Fyer's cannon at Lake Hylia, or by the Twilight Portal that Link opens up at Gerudo Mesa. The desert is filled with Peahats and Moldorms. Despite its name, no Gerudo are shown to reside here (or anywhere in the game, aside Ganondorf).
The Arbiter's Grounds is located in Gerudo Desert, which is the fourth dungeon and home to the Mirror of Twilight. Also, the Cave of Ordeals, a long mini-dungeon that has many floors full of enemies, home of the Great Fairy, is situated within Gerudo Mesa, where the large piece of the Bridge of Eldin that was teleported by Shadow Beasts was sent. Link can teleport the bridge part back to its original location in Eldin Province, not only repairing the Bridge of Eldin, but also opening the entrance to the Cave of Ordeals.
According to Auru, there was originally a path to the desert, but it was closed off. As a result, this is one of the areas where Link cannot summon Epona. This may make crossing the vast desert rather difficult, but there are some Bullbos in a nearby Bulblin camp Link can ride, or he can travel in his wolf form, which is faster than his Hylian form.
Interestingly, the map of Hyrule has the words Great Desert, rather than Gerudo Desert, spelled in Hylian.
The Gerudo Desert is a region located in the Gerudo province of Hyrule in Breath of the Wild. Gerudo Town and the Kara Kara Bazaar are located in this region, as well as the Great Fairy Fountain where Tera found under the Gerudo Great Skeleton. The Gerudo Desert is also the endemic location of the four Molduga and a rarer subspecies called Molduking which are among the desert's top predators as they eat anything they can catch including Treasure Chests. The Divine Beast Vah Naboris is encountered in this region. The East Gerudo Ruins is dedicated to the Seven Heroines the divine protectors of the Gerudo people though a rumored Eighth Heroine is worshipped in the Gerudo Highlands by a certain sect of the Gerudo population. The sand covered ruins of the Arbiter's Grounds can be found in the southern part southwest of the Southern Oasis and east of the Gerudo Great Skeleton. Interesting the layout of the southern desert's Great Fairy Fountain and Oasis resembles the Desert Colossus area from Ocarina of Time. The Gerudo once again inhabit Gerudo Desert ruled by a line of female chieftains the current one being the teenage Makeela Riju following the death of her unnamed mother the previous Chieftain. Due to its remoteness it weathered the Great Calamity with the Gerudo remaining loyal to the fallen Kingdom of Hyrule engaging in free trade with Hylians and other races. Additionally the Gerudo have also given up their ancestors practice of thievery becoming a more law abiding people that are more friendly towards other races in general as long as their laws and cultural traditions are respected.
Sand Seals are native to the region and have even been domesticated by the Gerudo for Sand-Seal Surfing the main form of transportation besides travelling on foot. Like the Haunted Wasteland in Ocarina of Time, Horses refuse to enter Gerudo Desert via the Gerudo Desert Gateway from Gerudo Canyon thus explaining why Gerudo and experienced travelers rely on Sand-Seal Surfing. The desert itself is surrounded by the cold and often snowy Gerudo Highlands with Gerudo Canyon being the main route into the desert. Unlike Gerudo Desert, the Gerudo Canyon Pass receives more rainfall and is connected to Hyrule Field by the Digdogg Suspension Bridge though one of the land masses its connected to is home to a Hinox and the path to the Gerudo Canyon Stable is treacherous for travelers thus some have trouble even reaching the desert itself which can discourage some travelers though neverless various people make the journey as desert trade is lucrative. Women also come to Gerudo Town to visit the Hotel Oasis spa, to shop, and/or to experience the Gerudo Town's female only culture. The Gerudo are predominantly found here though some live outside the desert with their Hylian husbands returning to Gerudo Town to work often bring their daughters to expose them to Gerudo culture though it does cause some problems as Gerudo often have to leave their husbands and fathers for long periods. Young unmarried Gerudo women also leave to seek out a mate, adventure, and/or fortune. Most younger Gerudo like the law as it gives them a reason to leave the desert. It is stated the law applies to all men including rare Gerudo males none of which exist in Breath of the Wild as Ganon has apparently lost access to his original Gerudo form and no modern Gerudo males currently exist though presumably they'd live in Kara Kara Bazaar. However the guards can make mistakes especially when it comes to Gorons as Lyndae was let in by mistake due to his feminine sounding name and the apparent gender confusion when it comes to Gorons as the existence of actual female Gorons is unconfirmed. Koroks cannot normally be seen by most races thus have less trouble entering Gerudo Town though again the Gerudo would presumably welcome them if they are perceived to be female as it is unclear if Koroks have genders like their Kokiri ancestors. Due to the dangers no children besides Gerudo children live in Gerudo Desert with its child residents all living in Gerudo Town with their mothers, siblings, and female relatives. Elderly Gerudo live and work in both Kara Kara Bazaar and Gerudo Town though some are retired. The Language of the Gerudo is occasionally used by desert inhabits including the Gerudo, Tera, and even foreign travelers though generally all speak the common Hylian Language with the occasional Gerudo greetings or certain words. Kara Kara Bazaar is a trading post that accepts both men ("Voe") and women ("Vai") as Gerudo Town forbids men from entering though women of all races are welcome. The Gerudo Chieftains have strong diplomatic ties with the Royal Family of Hyrule with the Queens and Princesses of Hyrule apparently maintaining them as male monarchs would be relegated to meeting them outside Gerudo Town or rely on female envoys or diplomats. Both the Queen of Hyrule and Princess Zelda visited Gerudo Town in the past with the Queen once paying a royal visit to introduce her newborn daughter to Gerudo Chieftain Urbosa as both female monarchs were close friends. After the Queen's sudden death when Zelda was six, Urbosa befriended Zelda as they bonded ovef their shared grief over the Queen's death. Zelda would visit the desert several times before the Great Calamity. She even visited Kara Kara Bazaar with Link whom was forbidden in Gerudo Town though Urbosa later taught him how to disguise himself as a girl to trick the guards when Zelda took advantage of Gerudo Town law to elude Link's protection detail. A century later the amnesiac Link relearned the trick from Vilia. The Yiga Clan made at least two attempts on Zelda's life in the desert but these were foiled by Urbosa and Link respectively. Urbosa is aware of Ganon's Gerudo origins and the ancient Gerudo Sage of Spirit Nabooru for whom Vah Naboris is named after. Urbosa greatly respects Nabooru and despises Ganon seeing his relation to the Gerudo people as a stain upon Gerudo honor due to the countless disasters and calamities Ganon has inflicted upon Hyrule for generations. However it is implied Ganon's Gerudo origins are not common knowledge presumably due to the potential backlash and discrimination the Gerudo might suffer or that knowledge has faded among the general Hyrulean population only being known to a select few well informed people before the Great Calamity such as Urbosa, Hyrulean scholars, deities such as Hylia and Great Deku Tree, and holy men such as sages and the Sheikah Monks. It is implied Nabooru may have been responsible for some of the positive changes in Gerudo culture such as their government, laws, and strong diplomatic ties with the Hyrulean Royal Family. Additionally according to legend, ten thousand years before Breath of the Wild the Gerudo were entrusted with Vah Naboris which was successfully piloted by an unnamed Gerudo Champion against Calamity Ganon in support of the Hero and Princess of Hyrule of that era. Unfortunately Ganon retained Ganondorf's evil cunning learning from his defeat and upon his return corrupted the very weapons designed to combat him and created Thunderblight Ganon to kill Urbosa and imprison her spirit to control Vah Naboris much like how he used Koume and Kotake to brainwash the Divine Beast's namesake in the past. However fortunately Zelda's seal caused Vah Naboris to become dormant for a century while Link recovered from injuries sustained during the Great Calamity.
Gerudo Desert is a dry sandy desert where rainfall is practically non-existent (as it never rains there in-game) and sandstorms are common especially as one travels further into the desert. Additional its temperatures fluctuate between day and night. During the day, outside the shade or what little water can be found it is so hot that heat resistance is required or Link will slowly lose Heart Container presumably from the effects heat stroke. Carrying ice elemental weapons, staying in the shade, or water can cool Link's body down providing an alternate form of protection. However after sundown, the temperature plummets to cold temperatures that require cold resistance. Other methods for enduring cold conditions such as Campfires, a lit Torch, or fire elemental weapons also work. Due to its dryness and radical climate shifts Gerudo Desert is implied to be potentially fatal to the aquatic Zora whom require water to live. Rito are more resilient though their insulting feathers can work against them. As with most regions, the ever resilient Koroks have no trouble surviving in the desert. Gorons are generally not bothered by the heat but have trouble dealing with the sudden drops in temperature at night. Hylians, Gerudo, and Sheikah must take the proper precautions such as wearing suitable clothing and Armor. Hydromelons, Voltfruits, Spicy Peppers, and Palm Fruits are native to the region with Hydromelons growing on vines while Voltfruit grow on desert cacti, Palm Fruit grow from palm trees, while Spicy Peppers grow on bushes. All three species of Safflina herbs are native to the desert. Mighty Bananas are sold in Kara Kara Bazaar but the Yiga Clan apparently buy up most of their supply. Mighty Bananas are apparently acquired from the nearby Faron province. Herons, Sand Sparrow, and Wasteland Coyote are native species as well. Despite the dangers of the desert, Hylian men are often attracted by stories of a town full of women though most are unaware Gerudo Town law forbids men entry as disguising oneself is essentially a largely unknown illegal method of entry with men being forced to maintain the charade or be thrown out by the ever watchful guards whom like their ancient predecessors that protected Gerudo Fortress are extremely adapt at detecting most intruders save for men in disguise and talented shapeshifters like the Yiga Clan. Some amorous men stubbornly refuse to give up on entering Gerudo Town or delusionally believe they will be able to get in though most return to Kara Kara Bazaar disappointed. The Gerudo Guards tend to be threatening or cold towards men as they often have to keep men out all the time though beyond literally throwing them out and threaten of bodily harm there are no instances of Hylian men being killed or imprisoned and they are friendly towards women and disguised men they perceive as women welcoming them into Gerudo Town. They can however be civil towards male travelers whom are respectful of Gerudo Town law providing them with general information. However it is uncommon for Hylian women to make the journey as they tend to be better informed of the dangers as men are often blinded by desire and romantic idealization. Some visitors fail to realize how dangerous Gerudo Desert is and some men end up getting lost on the way to Gerudo Town and can fall prey to desert monsters or Wasteland Coyote which are known to hunt desert travelers due to the harsh living conditions. However despite the law, Gerudo Town is a major hub for economic trade as female merchants as well as disguised males like Vilia and Link are able to sell Armor, Materials, and Food. Additionally Gerudo Town laws that prohibit the sale of men's armor does not apply to foreign non-Gerudo merchants as Link can sell the Desert Voe and Radiant armor sets without issue while Gerudo had to open the Gerudo Secret Club an illegal indoor black market Armor Shop that sells men's clothing. Most Gerudo however are law abiding though even Gerudo Chieftains will bend the law if necessary such as Urbosa and Riju both allowing Link a man to remain in Gerudo Town while in disguise though in Urbosa's case it was in response to Zelda's taking advantage of the law and Link being honor bond as a Royal Knight Captain to protect Zelda whom Urbosa cared for like a surrogate daughter and Urbosa was fully aware that the Yiga Clan and Ganon's army of monsters would seek to eliminate her if given the opportunity as her latent sealing power was a serious threat to Ganon's return. In Riju's case, Link the Hylian Champion and Princess Zelda's Royal Knight as well as a comrade of the deceased Gerudo Champion Lady Urbosa a respected predecessor of Riju and hero of the Gerudo people. Riju was also mindful that Link's assistance would be needed to calm Vah Naboris and recover the stolen Thunder Helm from the Yiga Clan thus allowed him to remain out of respect and necessity though required him to maintain his disguise out of respect for the law and to persevere the honor of the noble Gerudo that protected Gerudo Town saving them from further humiliation as the Yiga Clan had previously stolen the Chief's Thunder Helm. With Riju's aid Link would enter Vah Naboris and slay Thunderblight Ganon allowing Urbosa's spirit to retake control of Link to support him in combating Ganon. However Riju still requires Link to disguise himself to enter Gerudo Town even after Vah Naboris is freed. Other Gerudo and the Hylian Jules see through Link's disguise though keep it secret for various reasons.
Despite the desert's harsh conditions, countless ruins and ancient structures can be found showing the Gerudo are well adapted to the desert environment and capable of building impressive structures such as the East Gerudo Ruins. The South Lomei Labyrinth is located beyond Champion's Gate is a massive labyrinth though it is unclear if it was constructed by the Gerudo, Sheikah, or both. Additionally Gerudo utilize the underground Northern Icehouse to store ice acquired from the Gerudo Highlands. Gerudo Desert is known to have many lost treasures buried in its desert sands with some Gerudo becoming treasure hunters while others like Ramella work as archeologists to study ruins and ancient structures. However local Molduga often inadvertently swallow buried treasure chests which remain in their stomach unless slain, while Treasure Octorok often camouflage themselves as chests to ambush desert travelers. Gerudo also have good education as Ashai runs relationship and cooking classes for her fellow Gerudo. Additionally some are knowledgeable of far away places such as the Kochi Dye Shop and Lover's Pond. Gerudo Town market has one of the largest varieties of shops and vendors including three armor shops Fashion Passion, the jewelry store Starlight Memories, and black market Gerudo Secret Club which requires a special password, the open air Arrow Specialty Shop, and several venders that sell food or ingredients. Most ventors are married and live outside Gerudo Town though return to sell their wares to support their families. Isha the jeweler is unmarried due to a apparently tragic love triangle between her and Ashai over a man believed to have been the famous Chef Aurie Taamu as Ashai apparently had been in a relationship with him. Starlight Memories legally sells jewelry that can be worn by both men and women while in the past a Gerudo bootmaker crafted Sand Boots and Snow Boots for both genders though unfortunately they had passed away leaving behind no heirs or apprentices to carry on their business. As a result, Sand and Snow Boots are rare armor. The Hotel Oasis provides beds and even a popular spa plan said to make clients feel and look younger making it popular among Gerudo like Isha and even Hylian women trying to combat the effects of aging though it is implied some women are forced to wait for the spa treatment. The town also has a bar The Noble Canteen where alcoholic drinks such as Noble Pursuit are served though ironically Link is viewed as underaged despite being technically over one hundred years old as his aging had been halted by the Slumber of Restoration, though the actual drinking age in Gerudo Town is not specified and age verification is determined solely based on bartender's judgement. Like most establishments, the bar patronage is female and Gerudo though Hylians like Jules are welcome and permitted to drink if they are of age or perceived to be so. However some Gerudo patrons suffer hangovers and the bars neighbors tend to dislike the noise caused by loud patrons at night. Gerudo Town does not have an official blacksmith though Riju's bodyguard serves that role in an unofficial capacity and is extremely capable able to repair Urbosa's Daybreaker and Scimitar of the Seven which are sacred treasures of the Gerudo people. Gerudo however have access to golden ornate and well-crafted armaments which are a common sight in the province thus Radiant Shields and Moonlight Scimitars are rarer than others.
Gerudo Town is constructed around an oasis located on a large plateau that stands atop the Chief's Palace. The Oasis is out of sight from the Guards and home to a hidden Korok. The oasis and Gerudo Secret Club are the only locations within Gerudo Town where he can remove his disguise without being caught unless he leaves said area. The oasis provides Gerudo Town's water which flows around town via a system of aqueducts. However the aqueducts are vulnerable to pollution from careless Gerudo though fortunately most avoid discarding trash in them due to how extremely valuable fresh water is in the desert. Kara Kara Bazaar is constructed around a ground level oasis with a building that contains an Inn and small Arrow Shop. There is an outdoor fruit market and vendor named Maike who sells Lizalfos Tails and roasted food. Hylian male merchants have set up a camp here to trade and hopefully mingle with local Gerudo women. The Southern Oasis is located on an island-like plateau which is smaller and partially dried up with only a Cooking Pot and a hidden Korok living there. The Southern Oasis are is dangerous due to local monster activity and being located in a Molduga's territory. Tera's nearby Great Fairy Fountain is peaceful and shaded by the Gerudo Great Skeleton though due to its location it has had few visitors causing Tera's power to diminish though Link can revive her with an offering of Rupees. Ironically Tera occasionally swallows water while emerging from her fountain causing her to cough with her problem with water presumably a tongue-in-cheek reference to her status as a desert dweller. The Gerudo Great Skeleton has many plants growing around it such as Endura Carrots, Silent Princess, and all three types of Safflina. A Shrine is located across from Tera's fountain. The Gerudo Great Skeleton is one of three Leviathan skeletons found in Hyrule.
The desert sandstorms prevent Link from travelling outside the map by walking too far west, south, or southwest providing a legitimate in-universe barrier much like the sandstorms in the Haunted Wasteland from Ocarina of Time. Unlike the Gerudo Desert from Twilight Princess, the Gerudo Desert in Breath of the Wild while a difficult place to survive it is not completely devoid of life and is one of few places in Hyrule where various races live and trade together on a daily basis. This is apparently thanks to the Gerudo Town guards and soldiers whom have kept the region safe from monsters and Yiga Clan whom became sworn enemies of the Gerudo following the humiliating theft of the Thunder Helm as the Gerudo having once been a tribe of thieves became determined to restore their honor as the theft reflected poorly on their abilities.
Gerudo Desert is a location that appears in Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors Legends. In the story, after the seal on all four of Ganondorf's Soul Fragments has been removed and Ganondorf is fully revived, he returns to the desert of his birth raise an army to take back his Triforce of Power and acquire the other two pieces held by Link and Zelda. Reviving Ghirahim and Zant to serve as his generals, he begins his quest by defeating a group of monsters based in the desert and force the rest into submission. After raising his army, Ganondorf leaves the desert and reclaims the Triforce of Power from Lana (which she had claimed after Cia's death) in the Valley of Seers. He then invades Hyrule Field and after defeating both Link and Zelda, obtains the complete Triforce. Confident in his victory, Ganondorf disappears, while his Generals and army return to the desert. Undeterred Zelda, Link, and Lana lead the Hyrulean Forces into the desert to defeat Ganondorf's generals. They manage to secure two oasis found in the desert and confront both Zant and Ghirahim, who are defeated. However despite this, Ganondorf's Forces continue to fight and eventually manage to surround Lana, who uses her magic to summon their allies from across time (Darunia, Ruto, Agitha, Midna, and Fi) which turns the battle in the Hyrulean Forces favor. It is eventually revealed the Ghirahim and Zant they had defeated earlier where fakes and that the real ones had been leading Ganondorf's Forces from their hiding spot inside the Arbiter's Grounds. Ghirahim and Zant are eventually defeated restoring hope and boosting moral of the Hyrulean Forces, leading to the final showdown with Ganondorf at Ganon's Tower.
Given its location and name, it is likely that Gerudo Desert was originally the Haunted Wasteland from Ocarina of Time. Apparently some point after the events of Ocarina of Time, the desert region became cut off from the rest of Hyrule (either by geologically activity, by Ganondorf and/or the Gerudo during the King of Thieves rampage across Hyrule, or by the Kingdom of Hyrule and/or its allies). Following Ganondorf's capture, the Gerudo where either expelled/banished from the desert and/or condemned to imprisonment within the Arbiter's Grounds or lived in an area of the desert isolated from portion the Hero of Twilight explores. Alternatively the Gerudo became intergrated in Hyrulean society through reproducing with the Hylian and Human population as Breath of the Wild confirms Gerudo primarily reproduce with Hylian men due to Gerudo men being an extremely rare occurrence and Ganondorf's capture and imprisonment effectively robbed the Gerudo of their race's only living male.
In Breath of the Wild, there are several features in common with the Haunted Wasteland. Gerudo Desert has sudden Sandstorm that make navigating the desert difficult and/or certain areas inaccessible. Layout of the southern desert's Great Fairy Fountain and Southern Oasis resemble the Desert Colossus area with the Arbiter's Grounds in the same general location as the Spirit Temple supporting the theory that the Spirit Temple was converted into the prison. However the Arbiter's Grounds has apparently been long abandoned with its ruins being left to be consumed by the desert sands. Additionally all horses including Epona refuse to enter the desert even by using horse steps, much like how Epona refuses to enter the Haunted Wasteland in Ocarina of Time. However it is unclear if these are simply references or evidence that Gerudo Desert was once the Haunted Wasteland which may be true as Breath of the Wild is officially confirmed to take place some time after Ocarina of Time in an indeterminate timeline.
It is possible that Gerudo Desert was originally Lanayru Desert from Skyward Sword. The Lanayru Desert region, could have eventually become the desert region in Ocarina of Time and then Gerudo Desert in Twilight Princess and Breath of the Wild. However as Lanayru Desert was once a fertile land and sea area before the modern era of Skyward Sword its possible the two deserts are unrelated and separate deserts created by Hyrule's ever changing geology and geography.