Elder Scrolls

Bleak Falls Barrow

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Tomb  Bleak Falls Barrow
Bleak Falls Barrow
Bleak Falls Barrow MapLocation
Hold Whiterun Hold
Location West of Riverwood
Type Tomb
Sublocations Bleak Falls Sanctum
Quests Bleak Falls Barrow
The Golden Claw
Characters Arvel the Swift
Thomas (Deceased)
Enemies Draugr
Word Wall Unrelenting Force
Location ID BleakFallsBarrowExterior
For the quest of the same name, see Bleak Falls Barrow (Quest).

Bleak Falls Barrow is an ancient Nordic tomb in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It is a large temple that was built by ancient Nords to worship the dragons.


It is one of many places where the ancient Nords had buried their dead, and as such, the Barrow is infested with aggressive draugr. There may be a dragon perched on the arch outside the temple if the quest Dragon Rising has been completed, otherwise there will be a small number of bandits guarding the outer perimeter of the temple. The exterior of the ruin is very impressive with its stone arches, and only a few ruins, such as Ragnvald and Skuldafn, also have such impressive exteriors. The structures can even be seen from the map.


The first section of Bleak Falls Barrow that is encountered is known as Bleak Falls Temple. This is an underground-style dungeon rather than the normal ancient Nord style of dungeon. There is also an inner section, Bleak Falls Sanctum, which is blocked by a Nordic puzzle door that only the Golden Claw can open, after the puzzle is solved. The answer to the puzzle is on the palm of the claw.


Bleak Falls BarrowEdit

During the course of the main quest, Jarl Balgruuf the Greater will ask the Dragonborn to assist his court wizard Farengar Secret-Fire with his research into dragons. He wants the Dragonstone, an ancient tablet with a map of Dragon Burial Mounds, retrieved from Bleak Falls Barrow (the first ancient Nordic ruin to be discovered in the main questline).

The Golden ClawEdit

Lucan Valerius, in the Riverwood Trader, may ask the Dragonborn to go to Bleak Falls Barrow and retrieve his sister's Golden Claw, which was stolen by bandits, in return for some gold from an incoming delivery. This quest can be completed simultaneously with the Bleak Falls Barrow quest.

Fetch Me That Book!Edit

Urag gro-Shub from the College of Winterhold may want the Dragonborn to fetch a particular book from Bleak Falls Barrow.


  • Bandits
  • Draugr
  • Restless Draugr
  • Wounded Frostbite Spider
    • There is one Wounded Giant Frostbite spider in the chamber where Arvel the Swift is trapped.
  • Skeevers
  • Dragon
    • Dragons can be waiting outside the exit behind the Word Wall despite not completing the quest; this allows random dragon encounters, however, they are not part of the dungeon itself. (Confirmed on PS3 and Xbox 360.)
  • Frost Troll
    • A Frost Troll may be encountered near the Watchtower leading to Bleak Falls Barrow and inside the Temple itself if one is a high enough level.

Notable itemsEdit

Other itemsEdit

  • There is a strongbox and apothecary's satchel, both containing random items, on the outside of the left hand temple wall, (if facing the temple door from the outside look to the left, walk to the corner of the temple, turn right, and continue to the end of the wall - they are in the corner).
  • A chest with an apprentice lock up the stairs to the right of the first set of swinging blades.
  • Two hidden treasure chests in the Word Wall room behind waterfalls on either side of the Word Wall.
  • There is a chest hidden in the cobwebs next to a lootable skeleton, which contains random loot, just before fighting the frostbite spider and cutting down and killing Arvel.
  • Upon exiting the Sanctum and before jumping off the cliff, there will be a random potion tucked in a crevice to the left of the exit (if facing outward).
  • To the southwest is a vein of corundum ore.

Word WallEdit

Thu'um Dragon Language
Transliteration Translation
Unrelenting Force
Locations: Bleak Falls Barrow
Fus Fus-wordwall
Here lies the guardian
Keeper of dragonstone
And a force of unending
Rage and darkness



  • This location does reset enemies and chests after a time. However, it does not generate an additional Dragonstone or the NPC and quest item required in The Golden Claw.
  • A dragon may appear after exiting Bleak Falls Barrow if the player has completed the quest, Dragon Rising.
  • This was the first dungeon and respective quest seen by players of Skyrim. As it was shown in the very first demo.
  • There is a bandit outlaw seen trying to open the puzzle, but gets shot by the poisoned arrows for failing.
  • The exterior of Bleak Falls Barrow has four large beautifully carved stone archs. These arches were very common in ancient Nord architecture, and because the ancient Nords who built the gigantic barrow were Dragon worshipers, stone Dragon heads can be seen on top of the arches.
  • Sometimes after clearing the ruins, fast traveling back after a while can result in several draugr battling some leveled Bandits near the entrance of the ruin.
  • If the Dragonborn has not yet spoken to Lucan Valerius about his missing "ornament", upon entering the barrow, they will overhear two bandits talking about it, thus beginning the quest "The Golden Claw".
  • Although the enemies reset after a period of time, like most dungeons, the enemies within Bleak Falls Barrow stay at the same level they were when first encountered, resulting in a place which is good for testing newly enchanted weapons or learning a new skill.
  • If "Unbound" is completed by following Hadvar he will say that as a child he had nightmares about Draugr climbing down the mountain and taking him away.
  • The Draugr boss at the end of the dungeon, next to the Word Wall, will always carry an Ancient Nord weapon with a frost enchantment. The weapon can be a sword, greatsword or battleaxe depending on your level.


This section contains bugs related to Bleak Falls Barrow. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Confirm all bugs with other editors on the talk page before adding them below.
  2. Always try reloading an old save first, before asking for assistance.
  3. Do not discuss possible bug fixes or origins. Leave those and all other first-person-anecdotes on the talk page, not the article.
  4. Always add  360  ,  PS3  , or  PC   to clarify which system the bug appears on.
  • The puzzle to open the gate by turning pillars may not work; the pillars won't turn when activated. Exiting the cave and re-entering or saving and reloading may fix this.
  • When the Bandit Outlaw attempts to solve the pillar puzzle, getting in the way of the poison arrow trap results in Poison Damage lasting over 24 hours, at six damage a second. Potion of Cure Poison can not stop the poison, nor can racial poison resistances or other poison resistances prevent it.
  • The axe tunnels have a chance of hitting your followers if they come through, some times sticking them inside of a wall where you cannot access them. Wait about 2 to 3 days to make them leave you.


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