After entering the Nether is it possible to trap yourself without a way back to the overworld except via death or game commands?

I know it's possible to relight an extinguished Nether portal using flint/steel or even a Ghast's fireball but what can you do if your Nether portal is destroyed?

I was, rather foolishly, moving the only Nether portal I had from one point in my Nether base to another without spare obsidian. Using diamond tools I had dismantled the Nether portal and was in the process of moving it to a more secure room in my fort when I accidentally pressed the "drop" button on my keyboard. Because of my bad luck I had dropped the obsidian over a pool of lava - making it irretrievable - and no longer have enough to construct a new portal.

There was a series of mistakes that led to this happening: not having a backup portal, not bringing spare obsidian, previously demolishing the four corners of the portal such that those pieces of obsidian cannot be used. In spite of my errors, is there any way I can still escape the Nether or will I need to kill my character and have them respawn in the Overworld?

This question is intended for a survival singleplayer but answers can be encompass survival multiplayer too.

  • 13
    In multiplayer it's easy: Someone comes to save you. Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 17:14
  • Is this unmodded Minecraft? I'm pretty certain that there's a number of mods that add additional ways to traverse between dimensions (e.g. linking books, dimensional cakes, various teleporters, etc).
    – nick012000
    Commented Nov 29, 2019 at 2:55
  • Seems to be asking two questions, "Is it possible to trap yourself in the Nether?", and "How to escape from the Nether?". Should probably pick one, but the answers are already based on how to escape, not how to get stuck
    – phflack
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 18:47
  • If you look at edit history for this question you'll see that others have made the same observation. You're right, but after this post gained so much traction the title is not going to be changed
    – PausePause
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 18:54

4 Answers 4


According to the Wiki, you can find both Obsidian and Flint and Steel in Nether Fortress chests. Go find a nether fortress and try your luck by collecting chest loot.

  • 1
    Fantastic, thank you! I just need to keep track of where my nether base is so I can return after I find the supplies.
    – PausePause
    Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 17:40
  • 1
    In case you got lost, there's still this :) Unfortunately Obsidian is also the least common loot, so you might have to explore a few Nether Fortresses before finding some Obsidian.
    – Quijibo
    Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 18:25
  • 9
    "Trapped in the Nether with the way home lost to the lava pools, our hero must venture forth into the fiery darkness in search of a new path to the sky. With only the chance contents of a modest satchel at hand, it is sure to be a grueling and challenging journey."
    – Cyphase
    Commented Nov 29, 2019 at 9:16
  • 3
    I've never seen obsidian in a nether fortress chest. Be prepared to spend many days travelling. Surely it's easier to just put your stuff in the first chest you find, and jump in a lava pit. Or even drop all your stuff near your portal, jump in a lava pit, then come back through your portal. Commented Nov 30, 2019 at 11:37

I see multiple ways for you, to get back with minimal losses.

  1. Like Quijibo mentioned, you might get lucky by finding obsidian in Nether fortresses.
  2. Since the nether is unloaded when there is no player in it (in general of course there are ways to have it loaded), you could drop all your items near the original position of your netherportal, jump into the nearest pool of lava, respawn in the overworld and reenter the nether through the overworld, which should generate a new portal and your items would still be there. (Or get a chest from a fortress, in that case you don't risk any despawn)

In Minecraft 1.16, you can find nether gold ore and craft ingots by making a crafting table (you can find wood in warped and crimson forests) then craft gold ingots and barter with piglins until one gives you obsidian.


Why not dig up nether sand - it behaves the same as upper worlds sand or gravel - just drop it in the lava where your obsidian fell - obsidian doesn't get melted by lava so its still there ... dig out the lava after you successfully dried up a big enough area

  • 7
    Dropped obsidian doesn't get melted by lava? Since when? Commented Nov 28, 2019 at 11:16
  • 2
    that is simply wrong, any item gets destroyed when thrown into lava ad an entity.
    – Chund
    Commented Nov 28, 2019 at 11:55
  • 3
    Also, I don't think "nether sand" exists. Gravel can be found in patches overhanging lava, but the only "nether sand" is soul sand, which isn't affected by gravity. Commented Nov 28, 2019 at 18:36
  • 5
    Obsidian placed in the world is immune to lava, but obsidian floating around as a result of using the "drop item" button definitely does burn up if it hits lava. You'd have to use gravel (of which there is plenty in the nether) rather than soul sand, because soul sand isn't affected by gravity, but sadly you'd still not find the dropped obsidian. Commented Nov 29, 2019 at 11:35
  • 1
    As of 1.16 Netherite tools and items are immune to lava. But that's irrelevant; obsidian item still burns.
    – SF.
    Commented Jan 8, 2021 at 14:38

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