Every map in New Pokemon Snap has alternate paths you can unlock. Some of them are easy — and some of them are brain-bustingly difficult to make appear. If you want to find all the Pokemon photo opportunities in the game, you’ll need to fully explore each and every optional path. Early on, the optional paths unlock basically automatically. You’ll spot them for going through maps, or by reaching certain Research Level thresholds. Other times it’s a lot more complicated.
We’re putting together a huge guide that covers every single optional path in the game. Later maps have more than one optional path you can take — or even optional paths hidden in optional paths. It gets weird. Certain paths will only appear if you activate unique Pokemon interactions and only in a very specific order. We’re as lost as you, but with a little help from the community, we’ve figured out (almost) every optional path.
More New Pokemon Snap guides:
How To Get 1, 2, 3 & 4 Star Photos | Beginner’s Guide | How To Unlock All Locations | Completion Guide | Florio Nature Park (Day) | All Requests | Florio Nature Park (Night) | All Requests | How To Unlock The Lental Seafloor Illumina Spot | Where To Find All Legendary & Mythical Pokemon | How To Enter All Areas Of Elsewhere Forest | All Illumina Orb Locations
How To Unlock Every Optional Route | Bonus Paths Guide
Each level has one or more optional or alternative routes. To unlock them, follow these instructions.
Florio Nature Park (Day)
- Optional Route #1: At Research Level 3, the Bidoof Dam will be complete. Now you can use it as an optional bridge. You’ll spot it in the lake area.
Florio Nature Park (Night)
Founja Jungle (Day)
- Optional Route #1: Complete Founja Jungle (Night) and find the optional path at the pond early in the level. In Founja Jungle (Night) it is automatically unlocked. Activate it once, and it will become available in the (Day) stage.
- Optional Route #2: After the Ancient Ruins, and moving toward the waterfall area, a Liepard will jump down on a rock and sleep. Use Illumina Orbs on the Liepard before it falls asleep. You can use Turbo to reach it faster or aim carefully with Illumina Orbs — if Liepard moves off the rock, you’ll be able to access the optional waterfall route.
Founja Jungle (Night)
- Optional Route #1: Early in the level, at the hill before reaching the pond, use Scan to locate footprints. Scan them, and you’ll unlock an optional path around the left side of the pond. Unlocking the route at (Night) also unlocks it during the (Day).
- Optional Route #2: To find a lower path through the Ancient Ruins, you need to complete several steps involving Liepard. 1) Wake up the first sleeping Liepard. 2) Throw fluffruit at the two roaming Liepard in the field. 3) Throw Illumina Orb at the Liepard hanging out above the sleeping Liepard. 4) Throw a fluffruit at the Liepard that spawns behind you before reaching the Ruins.
- Optional Route #3: On the lower Ruins path, throw Fluffruit and play Music to get the Liepard’s attention and lead you to the route behind the waterfall.
Blushing Beach (Day)
- Optional Route #1: This alternate path is always unlocked. You’ll find it as you enter the rocky reefs — you don’t have much time to scan it.
Blushing Beach (Night)
- Optional Route #1: Identical to the day route. Takes you to a small beach shortcut where Machamp is posing.
Maricopia Reef (Day)
- Optional Route #1: Near the end of the normal route, you’ll get a scanner alert. Use Scan on the Pokemon in the far distance, and this route will become available.
Maricopia Reef (Evening)
- Optional Route #1: Identical to the (Day) alternate route.
- Optional Route #1: On Research Level 2, a Clawitzer will appear right in the first area, to your front-left. Throw an Illumina Orb, and it will move toward a rocky passage blocked by debris. Throw another Illumina Orb, and the Clawitzer will destroy the passage, unlocking an optional route that follows a completely different path.
- Optional Route #2: On Research Level 3, follow the standard route until you drop down into the large cavern where Wailer spawns. Use Illumina Orbs on the Lanturn that spawns here, and it will retreat while chased by a Sharpedo. When the Lanturn is trapped by two Frillish, use another Illumina Orb to free it. It will move down a path — use the scanner and you’ll locate a second optional route that leads to Lugia’s chamber.
Sweltering Sands (Day)
- Optional Route #1: The route around the oasis is unlocked permanently once you reach Research Level 2. It appears when scanning before the oasis pond. This follows the same path as the (Night) route.
Sweltering Sands (Night)
- Optional Route #1: The route to the left of the oasis is unlocked permanently at Research Level 2. This follows the (Day) route.
- Optional Route #1: At Research Level 3, you can unlock a hidden Winter Zone. In the foggy forest, play music for the Trevenant near the floating boulder. You’ll need to repeat this every time.
- Optional Route #2: At Research Level 3, you can also enter a Plains Zone. In the second foggy forest area, activate crystablooms to draw a Deerling out of hiding. Keep hitting crystablooms — one more, then two more right before the end of the map. If you saved Deerling, they’ll reveal a new path to the Plains.
- Optional Route #1: The side-path unlocks on Research Level 2, leading you down an optional route through a room filled with blue crystals. This is the automatic path on Research Level 2. On Research Level 3, you will unlock a blue marker to select your path.
Shiver Snowfields (Day)
- Optional Route #1: At Research Level 2, an Alolan Sandslash will spawn early in the map. Take a snap, then wait for it to reappear later. Take another snap and the Sandslash will dig through the snowy wall blocking a path.
- Optional Route #2: This optional route is an continuation of the previous route. After getting through the snowy wall, this route will be accessible after unlocking it in the (Night) version of this map.
Shiver Snowfields (Night)
- Optional Route #1: Unlock the snowy wall optional route during the (Day) version of the stage. Once it is unlocked in the (Day), it will be permanently available at (Night) too. Follow this path!
- Optional Route #2: Continuing from the previous Optional Route, watch the Crabominable and hit it with an Illumina Orb before it punches a snow-covered tree. It will punch the tree harder when activated, causing snow to fall on Abomasnow. Follow Abomasnow, and wait for a Froslass to appear. Snap a pic of Froslass to uncover a path to the shore.
- Optional Route #1: On Research Level 3, look for a sleeping Crobat on the left. Use fluffruit to wake it up. Later, look for a second sleeping Crobat with a Gengar portal above it — activate the portal to lure Gengar out, scaring the Crobat away. Later in the stage when you reach the purple water pools, Crobat won’t harass Rampardos, unlocking an optional path.
- Optional Route #2: On Research Level 3, when you reach the crystal area of the cavern, look for Mawlie and Carbink — if use you Illumina Orbs on them (and the Crystablooms) you can summon a rare Diancie appearance. Completing this interaction with Mawlie / Carbink, another Mawlie will unlock a second optional route through the caves.
Ruins of Remembrance