I'm on the hunt for melons, and one place I'm fairly sure I can find them is a mineshaft. Which leaves me back at square one, how do I find a mine shaft? It seems they were made substantially harder to find between 1.8 and 1.0.

What's the fastest way to find a mineshaft?

  • 2
    In 1.3 you can trade with town folk and one of the possible trades is for melons! So, you don't have to find a mineshaft if you have a village and get lucky.
    – Chris Nava
    Aug 17, 2012 at 5:56
  • First time I stumbled on a mineshaft... coolest discovery. Dec 21, 2014 at 12:27

11 Answers 11


Abandoned Mineshafts are obvious once you've spotted them, since (with the exception of the libraries within Strongholds) they are the only naturally generated structures that use wood and fences. In addition, there are cobwebs scattered around them, especially around Cave Spider spawners.

There aren't any surefire ways of finding Abandoned Mineshafts, but you could start by exploring various caves, and once you see Wooden Planks, you know you've found one. The Minecraft Wiki page suggests looking for a ravine, since Abandoned Mineshafts are sometimes found intersecting them, and the wood structures will be a dead giveaway. They're not like Strongholds where you can use Eye of Enders to find them; you'll have to go spelunking if you want to find the mineshafts.

  • 6
    Go for the sounds of spiders if you can - cave spider spawners could be nearby! Dec 17, 2011 at 6:24
  • 4
    +1 for look in ravines. =) Also, you can use a bucket of water to rappel down the side of the ravine.
    – Ken
    Dec 20, 2011 at 19:29
  • The interior surface area of ravines is so large that not seeing a AMS is very improbable.
    – Sonic42
    Feb 3, 2012 at 1:21

Abandoned Mine Shafts are not locatable by any special means, but they have the characteristic of significant horizontal extent. Find a ravine, then search its length. If a mine shaft intersects a ravine, the mine shaft will have wooden bridges crossing the ravine.

There must be a minimum and maximum depth (Y coordinate) at which mine shafts occur, so you could also limit your search to those levels, but I don't see that documented on the wiki.

  • I have looked through roughly 10 ravines, and never found an abandoned mineshaft. What frequency do the mineshafts/ravines intersect?
    – John
    Dec 18, 2011 at 18:09
  • @John — I doubt that's easy to calculate. The advantage to searching ravines is that they are effectively a large plane embedded in the world, which gives them a higher chance of intersecting other structures than, say, caves.
    – Ben Blank
    Dec 20, 2011 at 20:20
  • @BenBlank Was just looking for a wiser/more experienced player's perspective/guestimate
    – John
    Dec 20, 2011 at 20:30

I had the same problem (needed melons) and the same quesion (how do I find a mineshaft?) about a week ago. I spent about 3 days cave delving hoping to find one without any luck and started to browse through wikis. SUCCESS!! Apparently, for whatever reason, there is a near certainty of abandoned mineshafts being generated underneath desert biomes. Sure, they show up other places as well, but for some darn reason desert biomes almost always have one.

After finding this information I dug under the first desert biome I found, and sure enough found an Abandoned Mineshaft. Worked for me. Might work for you.


Check the Exploration section.

  • 1
    My experience supports this. I dug down through a mountain at a 45 degree angle until I was deep under it, then dug horizontally when I heard water and monsters. I happened to have dug outward under a desert area, and the mineshaft I found was very extensive. It may actually be many shafts crossing each other, and it's taking me forever to search through it.
    – gnovice
    Feb 3, 2012 at 0:49

Ravines are perhaps the best in game method to find mineshafts, simply because there's a high chance that a ravine will intersect the shaft. However, the absolute quickest way to find a mineshaft would be to use one of the 3rd party mapping tools (Cartograph G is probably the best choice for this) to generate a map of your world and a map of fences, planks, and rails and combine them together to get a map of areas that likely contain mineshafts. Protip: Generate a 2d top down map (not the isometric view) to figure out exactly where things are. The Isometric views of a lot of mappers are confusing for finding exact locations.


The other option I use when specifically trying to find mineshafts is to build a very tall tower and stand on it, then disconnect. When you reconnect you get some time before all the chunks around you fully render, which gives you enough time to target all the ravines, mineshafts and lava pools in the vicinity.

(may not be fully in the spirit of exploration :-)


The fastest way I find mineshafts is by swimming in deep water. Deep Oceans will crape the top of the mine shafts open. The same goes with ravines. Bring some ladders with you to place on the walls to provide air once you get down there.


I happen to have a very good way of finding these, simply explore a stronghold that you find and 9/10 times it has an abandoned mine shaft running through one! It really works, and you can even prove it if needed. Example: on the seed "gimmeapoo" (this spawns you near an npc village that is in a shallow lake!) you will find abandoned mineshafts intersecting a stronghold at this location (-379, 27, 786). Be forewarned, very early on you may find random spiders (the regular kind) in the shaft. This is due to a dungeon that generated above the mineshaft, but at the end of a more different one.

In short, stronghold = mine shaft.

also, in the example mentioned above, there is a dirt room at (-437, 21, 854)


I've found one in single player in a ravine with floating wood blocks and fences around it.

You can also build a tall tower to search for ravines - just remember to create a safe way to get down from the tower.


Like many others say ravines can be found next to shafts, but also a fast but inefficient way is to mine to the bedrock in a two block area like this


The reason for mining two down is because you may fall into lava mining down by one block.

Then fill the area with tnt to blow up the space If that area does not work move to a different area.

  • 1
    That is a good idea, but if you are not in create mode, getting the required amount of TNT is very hard. And to do it more than once? You would need a lot of TNT.
    – The Man
    Jun 17, 2012 at 12:54

Just run around and dig down. If you dont find one, go to a different place and do the same thing. Use the rocks/dirt and what not two fill back up your hole. You can put some light where you tried but if you don't find one where you first look, you must travel kinda far because mineshafts are very big.

  • 2
    As the numerous other answers indicate, there are many improvements over blind search.
    – blubb
    Mar 31, 2012 at 23:30

Just look inside natural caves. You will need space in your inventory because you might have to dig.

  • 3
    What does needing space in your inventory have to do with digging?
    – user28379
    Nov 3, 2012 at 0:32

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