HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE
Just like there's more than one way to solve some puzzles in The Witness, there's more than one way to use this guide.
We begin with a series of hints designed to gently nudge you toward solutions. If you're looking for a complete walkthrough with solutions, those appear next, at a safe distance for those who wish to avoid spoilers. Because they often require you to solve the area's puzzles first, we end with a guide to finding collectibles. Whatever your choice, you can jump directly to each section using the table of contents below.
This winding series of puzzles appears between Logging and Keep, behind Monastery and the Lake.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Like so many things in The Witness, solving the puzzles in Shady Trees requires an understanding of their context within the larger world. Think about the defining characteristics of the area and what opportunities those might present for solving — or obscuring — puzzles.
The puzzles get tougher as you make your way through them, but the solution is always within your grasp. Again, pay close attention to your surroundings.
Sometimes, the path to the next puzzle isn't quite clear. If you don't know where to go, trust your best judgment and head in that direction. You're likely to bump into something sooner rather than later.
This is a really good area to bring out your trusty paper and pencil. Answers are often clearer when they're on paper instead of inside your head.
Be sure to check out our beginner's guide for more general tips for the discerning island survivalist.
SPOILERS AND SOLUTIONS BELOW
Walkthrough and solutions
The puzzles here either continue (if you've already been solving puzzles in the Quarry) using the elimination symbol or introduce it. Its purpose is straightforward … and also a little confusing. It allows you to a puzzle requirement, as long the thing you skip — a shape or color, for example — shares a drawn area with the elimination symbol.
This is less a puzzle than a control switch, but its solution holds supremely important information for the puzzles you'll solve in the area.
In short, the door is telling you that objects in the environment can have an effect on puzzle solutions. That will become imparative a few puzzles into the first series below.
Look to the shadows. They hold meaning. And if there are no shadows, why not try opening that door again?
This series of puzzles continues using shadows to illuminate (!) your path. Except now, some portion of the puzzle is likely to be hidden. Use your feet to move around and look at the maze and its shadows from different angles. Upon completing this set of puzzles, you'll open the right door that's preventing you from solving the final puzzle.
The final series of puzzles in Shady Woods contains a relatively small number of shadow-filled mazes. Finishing these will open the left door that's preventing you from solving the final puzzle.
Solve the last puzzle, and a laser will blast into the heavens. It's going to take pretty much all of the knowledge you've gained solving the puzzles that got you here.
In The Witness, the island and its structures can be puzzles, too. They aren't as explicit or obvious as the puzzle boards strewn about (which is a nice way of saying that they're easy to miss). You have to look for them, given that environmental puzzles often appear in unlikely places. The good news: If you know what to look for, they're fairly easy to find. They telegraph their presence with the same ball-and-path design as the game's ubiquitous puzzle boards.
We don't know of any right now, but if we find them, this'll be where you find them, too.
COLLECTIBLES AND EXTRAS
Note that there's a door that leads into the Keep — but only if you've unlocked it from the inside.