The first mine you’ll have access to has 120 sprawling floors and is full of various useful treasures, primarily weapons and armor.
The final reward, however, the Skull Cavern mine key, most commonly known simply as the Skull Key, is possibly the most useful of all. It unlocks the Skull Cavern in the Calico Desert, a mine home to even stronger monsters, bigger rewards, and quests.
Retrieving the Skull Key In Stardew Valley: Location
Accessing the Skull Key requires you to traverse all 120 levels of the mine north of Pelican Town, as it is the final reward you’ll unlock at the very bottom of the mine. Keep in mind you won’t be able to access the mine until the 5th day of Spring, Year 1, as it is blocked off by a rockfall initially.
On the fifth day of Spring in your first year on the farm, you’ll get a letter in the mail informing you that the rocks have been cleared, giving you access to the mine. Ignore the mine cart and the boulder blocking the path to the right for now, as they likely won’t be accessible for a while yet. Take the ladder down to the first level.
To go deeper into the mine, you’ll need to fight monsters and mine rocks for stones and ores until a new ladder appears, taking you to the next level below. Every five levels, a checkpoint will be unlocked; you’ll be able to use the elevator in the mine to immediately return to levels 5, 10, 15, 20, and so on once you’ve accessed them.
Every 10 levels (except for level 30), you’ll reach a small room with a treasure chest inside. There are 11 total chests with their own rewards, including the Skull Key on level 120. The rewards are all either armor or weapons you can use to go deeper into the mine; the monsters gradually get stronger as you descend each level, so be sure to hang onto anything you grab from the treasure chests.
You won’t be able to grab the Skull Key upon your first visit to the mine; you’ll need to return several times and pick up on the checkpoint closest to wherever you left off, descend a few more levels, leave before it gets too late, and repeat.
Eventually, you’ll hit level 120 and can claim the mine’s last reward: the mysterious Skull Key.
Reaching level 120 of the mine is not an easy or quick task, especially if you’re just starting out. To reach the bottom of the mine and grab the Skull Key as painlessly as possible, you’ll need to be prepared. Here are some tips to keep in mind when making your way past the mine’s monsters and collecting its valuable ores and items.
To more effectively slay the mine’s monsters blocking your path to the bottom, you’ll need to gather better weapons and armor and train your Attack stat by grinding on weaker monsters.
Thankfully, you’ll receive several useful weapons and pieces of armor as you descend deeper into the mine and access its many treasure chests, and the Adventurers’ Guild just east of the mine has lots of useful items you can purchase to beef up your damage and defenses.
Additionally, certain weapons and armor can spawn randomly throughout the mine, so keep an eye out when you’re smashing up any crates and barrels you happen to find.
To really get the most out of each visit to the mine, check the Fortune Teller’s channel on your TV every morning before heading out.
It is best to only enter the mine on neutral, good, or very good luck days, as this will maximize the rewards you will find as you make your way through the caves and yield more profits, thus enabling you to purchase better armor, weapons, and food.
Most adventurers know to bring foods that replenish lots of health and energy, but many forget to use foods that apply temporary buffs to your Speed, Mining, Luck, and Defense stats.
For example, foods like the Miner’s Treat are ideal, as each one boosts 125 energy and 56 health and provides a +3 buff to Mining and a whopping +32 to Magnetism, which will help you pull in and pick up items from further away, making your journey to the bottom of the mine quite a bit faster.
Another useful and fairly easily accessible food for your adventures in the mine is the Eggplant Parmesan; not only does it boost your energy by 175 and health by 78 points, it also provides a +1 buff to Mining and a +3 buff to your Defense stat.
When you finally reach level 120 of the mine and pick up the Skull Key, it will automatically be added to your wallet, so it won’t take up precious inventory space.
The Skull Key unlocks the Skull Cavern mine in the Calico Desert. To access the Calico Desert, you’ll need to either complete the Vault bundles in the Community Center or purchase the Bus Repair from the Joja Community Development Form, depending on which you chose to invest in.
After repairing the bus, Pam will be present at the Bus Stop every day between 10 AM and 5 PM. You’ll need to purchase a Bus Ticket for 500 gold every time you want to take the bus to the Desert; however, it doesn’t cost anything to take the bus back home.
The Skull Cavern is in the northwest corner of the Calico Desert. With the Skull Key, you’ll now be able to unlock it and access its many rewards and challenging monsters.