Minecraft’s Trail Ruins: Finding Them and Their Treasure

With the release of the 1.20 Trails and Tales Update came the world of archaeology in Minecraft. The archaeology update allows players to craft the new brush tool in order to gather treasure from suspicious sand and gravel blocks. It also brings new structures to the game in the form of ruins. This guide focuses on the Trail Ruins, but there are also Warm Ocean and Cold Ocean Ruins available to explore.

What are Trail Ruins?

Trail Ruins are buried remnants of an ancient civilization long passed. They typically spawn near either an aquifer, an ocean, or a river, and vary greatly in shape and size. They are buried either underground or underwater with only a few blocks on the surface to reveal their position, including gravel, suspicious gravel, terracotta, and colored terracotta.

This image depicts how Trail Ruins look from above ground.

Some penetrate only a few blocks into the ground, like a single home standing alone. The larger ruins are made of a central tower that leads further down into the earth, revealing a road made of stone blocks and cobblestone that connects the central tower to smaller rooms.

This image depicts a broken central stairwell made of bricks, as well as the patterned terracotta that can be found in ruins.

These larger ruins will use mud bricks and regular and glazed terracotta as decor; their rooms will also occasionally contain utility blocks like looms and cartography tables. The other blocks that can be found include dirt, coarse dirt, stone bricks, and regular bricks.

This image depicts two rooms found in a large Trail Ruins; one room contains a loom and the other contains a cauldron.

Biomes Containing Trail Ruins

Trails Ruins can be found in six biomes in total, including three “Old Growth” biomes.

  1. Old Growth Birch Forest biomes
  2. Old Growth Pine Taiga biomes
  3. Old Growth Spruce Taiga biomes
  4. Taiga biomes
  5. Snowy Taiga biomes
  6. Jungle biomes

For a forest to be considered an “Old Growth” biome, the trees must be much taller than they are in regular variations of that biome. In the case of the Old Growth Birch Forest, the birch trees are mostly regular-sized but cover a large hilly area. The Old Growth Pine and Spruce Taigas are nearly identical and contain a mixture of large and regular-sized spruce trees: The only difference between them is that the trees in the Spruce Taiga have many more leaves than the trees in the Pine Taiga.

Finding Trail Ruins

1. Elytra

An easy way to try to find these structures is by flying with an elytra and rockets. They allow you to cover hundreds of blocks to find the right biomes and give you a wide view of the area. They also allow you to cover oceans and large lakes quickly. However, they do have one drawback – it can be difficult to actually see the part of the structure that peeks above ground while flying.

This image depicts the difficulty of seeing Trail Ruins structures from the sky.

There is one Trail Ruins structure visible in the above photo, but is much more difficult to spot while flying fast. Traveling by Elytra is best for finding the biomes Trail Ruins spawn in.

2. Traveling by Land

Traveling by land makes it much easier to spot ruins as they come. Using a horse makes this an even quicker job, but only if you do not have to cross water.

3. Using Commands

If you’d rather get straight to digging up ruins, there are two ways to speed up the process.

The first is to use the “locate” command in-game.

In order to do so, you must enable cheats in your world settings. Keep in mind that this will prevent you from getting any achievements in your world. After enabling this, enter the game and type “/”. Type in “locate”, then “structure” and lastly “trail_ruins”. Press enter. In Bedrock, the coordinates for the nearest Trail Ruins will pop up in the top left corner of your screen. In Java, they will appear on the bottom left.

This image depicts how to input the "locate" command to find Trail Ruins structures easily.
The locate command as used in Bedrock Edition.


4. Online Websites

There are “seed map” websites available that allow you to input your world seed and get structure and biome locations for your world. Chunkbase and MCSeeder are two examples of such websites.

You can find your seed using the /seed command in Java, or by checking through your world settings in either edition of Minecraft.

Digging Up Trail Ruins

Suspicious Gravel and Sand

Of the blocks found in Trail Ruins, suspicious gravel is the most precious. It looks like regular gravel but with a more “rugged” surface.

This image depicts the differing appearances between regular gravel and suspicious gravel.
The gravel beneath the orange terracotta on the right is regular gravel; the block directly to its left is suspicious gravel.

After using the brush on suspicious gravel, it will drop the treasure hidden within it and turn into regular gravel that can be mined normally. Mining suspicious gravel by hand or with a tool other than the brush will cause it to break without dropping anything. Mining the block beneath the suspicious gravel will cause it to fall and break, dropping nothing. Tread cautiously, and always mine from the top down to avoid losing any treasure!

This image depicts the way suspicious gravel looks when a brush is being used on it.
This image shows the animation of the brush being used, as well as how suspicious gravel looks as it is being brushed.


Crafting a brush requires one copper ingot, one feather, and one stick. In the crafting table’s 3×3 grid, the feather goes in the top left box, the copper ingot goes in the box beneath it, and the stick is placed in the bottom left box.

This image depicts the brush's crafting recipe; one feather in the top box, one copper ingot in the box beneath it, and one stick in the box beneath the copper ingot.

The brush is the only tool able to get the loot hidden in suspicious sand and suspicious gravel. You cannot properly explore any ruins without it.

Shovels / Pickaxes

The shovel is the second most important tool for exploring ruins, following the brush in first. There will be a lot of dirt and gravel to excavate, so make sure you have enough shovels if exploring larger ruins! They can take up as many as four or five unenchanted stone shovels, if not more. The general rule of thumb I follow is to dig up all dirt and gravel until I hit solid stone blocks. This ensures that no treasure is left behind, but also means that your tools will take a beating.

Shulker Boxes

While not a necessity for unearthing Ruins of any type, shulker boxes make the job a lot easier. Many ruins are large and full of treasures and blocks that would fill your pockets ten times over. By bringing a set of shulker boxes with you, it is much easier to transport your goods from the dig site to your home base.

Trail Ruins Treasures

Armor Trim Smithing Templates

Item NameItem ImageBedrock %Java %
Host Armor Trim Template8.3%8.3%
Raiser Armor Trim Template8.3%8.3%
Shaper Armor Trim Template8.3%8.3%
Wayfinder Armor Trim Template8.3%8.3%

Using a smithing table, armor trim templates can be combined with armor and crystals or ingots to create beautifully decorated armor!

Pottery Sherds

Item NameItem ImageBedrock %Java %
Burn Pottery Sherd8.3%8.3%
Danger Pottery Sherd8.3%8.3%
Friend Pottery Sherd8.3%8.3%
Heart Pottery Sherd8.3%8.3%
Heartbreak Pottery Sherd8.3%8.3%
Howl Pottery Sherd8.3%8.3%
Sheaf Pottery Sherd8.3%8.3%

The Decorated Pot item can be crafted using pottery sherds! Using four pottery sherds will create a pot with a picture on each side; using a brick in place of a pottery sherd will make one of the pot’s sides blank.

Music Disc

Item NameItem ImageBedrock %Java %
Relic Music Disc8.3%8.3

Common Drops

Item NameItem ImageBedrock %Java %
Beetroot Seeds2.2%2.2%
Blue Dye4.3%4.4%
Blue Stained Glass Pane2.2%2.2%
Brown Candle4.3%4.4%
Clay Ball4.3%x
Dead Bush2.2%2.2%
Flower Pot2.2%2.2%
Gold Nugget2.2%2.2%
Green Candle4.3%4.4%
Light Blue Dye4.3%4.4%
Light Blue Stained Glass Pane2.2%2.2%
Magenta Stained Glass Pane2.2%2.2%
Oak Hanging Sign2.2%2.2%
Orange Dye4.3%4.4%
Pink Stained Glass Pane2.2%2.2%
Purple Candle4.3%4.4%
Purple Stained Glass Pane2.2%2.2%
Red Candle4.3%4.4%
Red Stained Glass Pane2.2%2.2%
Spruce Hanging Sign2.2%2.2%
Wheat Seeds2.2%2.2%
White Dye4.3%4.4%
Wooden Hoe4.3%4.4%
Yellow Dye4.3%4.4%
Yellow Stained Glass Pane2.2%2.2%

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