Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

For other uses, see Bleak Falls Barrow.
"See that ruin up there? Bleak Falls Barrow. When I was a boy, that place always used to give me nightmares. Draugr creeping down the mountain to climb through my window at night, that kind of thing. I admit, I still don't much like the look of it."
Hadvar, if the Dragonborn escaped Helgen with him[src]

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 other 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 Barrow[]

During the course of the main quest, 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 Claw[]

Lucan Valerius, in the Riverwood Trader, may ask the Dragonborn to go to Bleak Falls Barrow and retrieve his 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![]

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

Trouble in Skyrim[]

A group of Draugr has been causing trouble in Falkreath. The Dragonborn has been asked to clear out 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.
  • Draugr Overlord
    • The boss of the barrow, located at the Word wall, has the Dragonstone upon the first time killing it.

Notable items[]

Other items[]

  • 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 out to Skyrim, 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 Wall[]

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



  • A dragon may appear after exiting Bleak Falls Barrow if the player has completed the quest "Dragon Rising."
  • Going into the Creation Kit reveals that a special dragon was made for Bleak Falls Barrow, with the ID of BleakFallsDragon. It is unknown if this is the dragon that can appear after completing Dragon Rising or if it was a part of the quest that was never used.
  • 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 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, war axe, or battleaxe depending on your level.
  • At least 12 chests are located within Bleak Falls Barrows.
  • If the Dragonborn's level is 18 or above, a dead character will spawn named Thomas in the area that contains a frost troll.


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

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  • Sometimes, the player can fall through the floor in the hall leading to the second puzzle door. Reloading a previous save fixes the issue.
  • The puzzle to open the gate by turning pillars may not work; the pillars will not 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, sometimes sticking them inside of a wall where you cannot access them. Wait at least three days to make them leave you.
  • Jumping in the stream that separates the final chamber from the rest of the dungeon can result in no splash sound effects even though the water is obviously deep enough. There seems to be no known fix to this.
  •  360    PS3   After learning the Word from the Word Wall, returning after the dungeon has been reset and approaching the Wall again will make the music emanate from the Wall again, as if the Word was never learned. This does not mean that you can learn another Word for the Unrelenting Force Shout from the Wall, however.
  •  PS3   After the dungeon is cleared out, returning after it has been reset can cause the conversation between the two bandits just inside the temple entrance to repeat itself, as if Arvel still have not returned with the Golden Claw, even though the Dragonborn knows the truth as to what happened to him and where the Claw currently is.
  •  PS3   Returning after the dungeon has been reset can cause the bandit to just stand in the hallway outside the pillar puzzle room and never move, meaning you will have to kill him in order to proceed, and there is a chance that he may immediately attack on sight, forcing you to defend yourself against him.
  • It is Possible to Provoke the Draugr Boss Before Learning the shout by placing a rune close to his sarcophagus.
  •  PC   The game may crash to desktop upon entering Bleak Falls Barrow Temple. This is likely caused by the bandit discussion trigger of the quest The Golden Claw and, in such case, be fixed by talking to Lucan Valerius to start the quest instead.