The Poisonous Trail is an intriguing Treasure Map in Red Dead Redemption 2 with some fantastic rewards, but the Poisonous Trail solution is also one of the game’s hardest, thanks to some tricky-to-navigate locations.
We’ll guide you through it step by step on this page, taking you through all three Poisonous Trail Treasure Map locations so you know how to start it and where to find the maps themselves, as well as guiding you right to the very worthwhile treasure that is your reward.
The Poisonous Trail is one of the only treasure hunts in the game that has no prior requirements or, as far as we can tell, even any hints at its existence unless you discover it yourself.
The first map, then, is one you just need to go out and grab. Once you’ve got it, The Poisonous Trail quest begins.
Poisonous Trail Treasure map 1 location:
The first Poisonous Trail map is found up towards Coulter, the place where your journey very first begins.
Specifically it’s in the hut on the edge of the frozen-over Cairn Lake, in the north-west area of the map. Head inside, pick up the Cigarette card on the table while you’re there, and then search under the bed in a lockbox to find it. If you’ve started the Gunslinger mission involving Flaco Hernandez, you’ll end up at this cabin, too.
Once you have it, it’ll reveal the location of the next treasure map on your trail.
This second map is quite a while away.
Poisonous Trail Treasure map 2 location:
Poisonous Trail Map 2 is in the Lemoyne area, due south-east of where you found the first map, before you reach Saint Denis.
The area you’re after is called Face Rock. It’s just to the west of Ringneck Creek and Eris Field. Just to the right of the ‘R’ and ‘L’ of ‘SCARLETT’.
Face Rock is literally just that – a large rocky outcrop that looks like a human face when viewed from either side, just as depicted in the map itself. What you’re looking for is a burned out, roughly six-foot-high tree stump at the base of the ramp up to the face.
Once you’ve got it, read it to see a description of the location of the third and final map.
Poisonous Trail Treasure map 3 location:
The third map is at another unusual spot of nature, but not quite so far away. It’s due north-east of where you found Map 2 – or pretty much due north of Saint Desnis.
Specifically, the area is west of the Van Horn Trading Post, a settlement on the east coast of the map.
If you ride through Van Horn heading south, the road will very soon fork – take the fork cutting due west, across the rail road track, and after another fork briefly after the rail road you wan to cut south off the track, and you should spot it.
It doesn’t have a name, but you’re looking for a strange, grassy hill with a coiled mound snaking up it, serpentine, with a spiral at the top.
At the top of the mound, in the coiled spiral part of the weird hill, you’ll find a pile of loose rocks. Search it to find the final map, Poisonous Trail Map 3.
This one takes you to the treasure itself.
Out for more pointers like this? Our Red Dead Redemption 2 walkthrough and guide takes you through every step of the game’s early missions.
For side activities, we have all Killer Clue Piece locations, Red Dead Redemption 2 Dreamcatcher locations, and Jack Hall Gang Treasure Map locations, plus the Poisonous Trail Treasure Map locations, in-progress Stranger locations and Legendary Animal locations and Legendary Fish locations, too.
And for upgrades, how to get money fast with Gold Bars will come in very handy, plus we’ve pages on how to get the best horse in Red Dead Redemption 2 and increase horse bonding, satchel upgrades and camp upgrades and how to get Leather Working Tools.
Elsewhere, there’s our picks for Red Dead Redemption 2 best weapons, how to perform how to get perfect pelts, hides and skins from hunting, how to find Fences and a Lock Breaker, redeem War Horse and Special Edition bonuses, reduce or remove Bounty and Wanted levels, use fast travel in Red Dead Redemption 2 and where to find the different Trapper locations.
Finally, a list of Red Dead Redemption 2 cheat codes and an idea of the Red Dead Online beta date.
The Poisonous Trail treasure is in a wonderfully typical spot for hidden treasure, but it’s a real pain to get to if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Poisonous Trail treasure hidden cave location
First up, the location itself. The treasure is hidden deep inside a secret cave, which is found behind the waterfall at a small lake called the Elysian Pool (it’s worth noting that this is also one of several Legendary Fish locations, too). We told did say it was typical!
It’s not far from the third map: the pool is just north of the ‘E’ of ‘HANOVER’ on the map. It’s near the east coast again, halfway between Annesburg to the north and the Van Horn trading post to the south.
Once you find it, tie up your horse at a nearby tree and wade into the pool, towards the waterfall. Simple walk through it to access the hidden cave behind.
Poisonous Trail treasure location
Like we said, it’s easy to get lost down here, so we’ll take it step by step.
1. The cave seems simple at first but quickly becomes quite difficult to navigate and stay orientated. First, climb up the initial ledge – whip out your lantern while you go – and follow the corridor.
2.After a few yards, you’ll find yourself in a more expansive corridor, with the path you’re standing on dropping down to a lower slanting ledge to your right. Use that as a ramp, walking down it – effectively doubling back on yourself in the process – until you reach the bottom.
3.Turn and continue back in the direction you were going, and on your right is a little hard-to-spot tunnel entrance through the wall. Crouch down and head through.
You’ll come out of that short tunnel at a fork in the road – a tunnel to the left and another to the right. Left is to the exit, so you want to go right.
4.Immediately after hanging right at that fork, look to your right again and you’ll see the orange light of a little campsite someone’s abandoned. Loot the lockbox for some valuable items, then continue one (you can exit the campsite the way you came or go through the other exit, they both take you the same way).
5.After another short stroll through the tunnel you’ll come out at another more expansive chamber – there’s a big drop in front of you and a dead end on your right, but turn left and you’ll see a way to progress – don’t do anything just yet.
Looking left, you’ll see a a drop from the ledge your on – at roughly the same height as you now, the other side of the drop, is a circular tunnel in the wall. Ignore that for now (that’s your exit for when you’ve got the treasure). What you need to do is take a little run up and sprint, then jump towards it, and slightly to the right of it, to a lower ledge that’s quite hard to see. You may want to save first just in case.
We tried this a few times and always landed clumsily, but you should be fine.
6.Continue on in that direction up a slope, which looks almost like you’re walking along a tongue inside someone’s mouth (or maybe that’s just us).
7.You’ll slide down the other side into a little pool of water. In front of you is a slanting ledge, with some rocks piled up on it.
Climb up onto the ledge and interact with the rocks – there should be a button prompt to search them – and receive the treasure that is your reward: a whopping four Gold Bars.
How to exit the secret cave
This is easier said than done – mess it up and it’s very easy to fall to your death (although if you do, you’ll respawn outside with the Gold Bars still in your inventory, but you might want to save just in case).
Double back the way you came, through the puddle of water and up the slippery slope (if you hang right Arthur can just about make it back up), then stop when you get to the ledge that you clumsily jumped down to a moment ago on your way in. Make sure you do stop, because if you stroll too far you’ll just fall to your death.
Turn to your right as you near the end of that slope, and there’s a little handhold-sized ledge jutting out at about head height. You need to grab onto that (the same button as before for climbing up onto ledges, although it took us a few goes to get it to work).
Arthur will pull himself up to stand on the little ledge, and then again at head height to your right is that circular tunnel that we mentioned earlier as your way out. Hop up to that, and follow the tunnel.
After a couple of steps you’re at another fork – only this one isn’t much of a fork, just two very short paths that come out at the same place.
After that fork though you’ll come out right in front of that tunnel you had to crouch through much earlier (it might be slightly to your right, so hug the right hand wall).
Go back through it, out to that lower level near the entrance path, work your way back up, and then you can head back out the way you came, under the waterfall – or, continue exploring the cave if you so wish.
With that, you’re done – remember you need to go to a Fence to sell your Gold Bars! Otherwise, cycle back to our main Red Dead Redemption 2 walkthrough and guides hub for much more like this.