For other uses, see Riverwood.

Riverwood is a small village located in the province of Skyrim. The village is built on the eastern bank of the White River, in Whiterun Hold. It is a small Nordic village set in a valley, between the river and the steep mountainside of the Throat of the World. It serves largely as a stopping point and rural community along the road from Helgen to Whiterun.


Riverwood was founded by the ancestors of Gerdur and Hod, current residents and owners of the village's lumber mill. The village is small, despite the fact that there is a lumber mill, tavern, blacksmith, general goods store, and three log houses and huts with small vegetable gardens. The village is largely self-sufficient, growing its own vegetables as well as hunting and fishing for meat.

Trade is made through the blacksmith and goods store, and what cannot be found locally or bought from travelers passing through may be bought from the Whiterun Marketplace. While the village is walled along its entrances, these walls are not initially patrolled by Hold Guards, and the rural village is largely defenseless. As such, the road to Whiterun is frequented by bandits during the time of the Civil War, and the residents will stay in the town.


Riverwood is most likely the first location visited by the Dragonborn following the attack on Helgen and the escape from Alduin. As such, the small and simple community serves as a tutorial village.

After the events at Helgen, they are directed to either Alvor, had they followed Hadvar, or Gerdur, if they sided with Ralof. The quest "Before the Storm" has them arriving in Riverwood, receiving supplies from the respective source, and being urged to head to Whiterun to inform the Jarl of the return of the dragons.

Riverwood also acts as a significant location and base during the first two acts of the main quest.

The Dragonborn can participate in several local economy and community jobs for the residents, such as chopping wood, milling logs at the mill and smithing basic armor and weapons at Alvor's forge. Additionally, Orgnar at the Sleeping Giant Inn has an Alchemy Lab.

Following the quest "Before the Storm," the village can be bolstered with a trio of Whiterun Guards as well as a small camp with bedrolls and a fire with a Cooking Place at the southwest entrance. Otherwise, the village is defenseless discounting its basic walls. Crime does not go unpunished, however, as the residents will attack the Dragonborn should they commit a crime. The residents will accept a yield, but a bounty will be added to Whiterun Hold regardless, and they may refuse another yield following further crimes.

TESV City Riverwood Panorama.png

Points of interest

A map of Riverwood marking all of the main points of interest.





  • Riverwood Lumber Mill – owned by Gerdur, also operated by Faendal and Hod.
  • Guard Camp – Guards' sleeping place.

The White River, on which Riverwood is built, is full of Salmon and leads to Whiterun after a series of rapids and falls. These fish are sought after by the area's hunters, and can be used for food or sold for gold. With the Hearthfire plug-in, salmon leaping up falls also have Salmon Roe, a valuable alchemy ingredient.


There are a total of sixteen residents (and one dog, as well as chickens and cows) in Riverwood.

  • Alvor – A blacksmith who lives and works at the local smithy. Trader in weapons, armor and smithing materials. He is Hadvar's uncle.
  • Camilla Valerius – Sister of Lucan Valerius. Both Sven and Faendal are in love with her.[1]
  • Delphine – She and Orgnar own the Sleeping Giant Inn.
  • Dorthe – The daughter of Alvor.
  • Embry – The local drunk. He is mostly seen around or in the Sleeping Giant Inn.
  • Faendal – A local Wood Elf archer who works at the mill and has a crush on Camilla Valerius. Possible follower depending on the Dovahkiin's choice in the "A Lovely Letter" quest.
  • Frodnar – The son of Hod and Gerdur, the young boy is tailed by his dog, Stump. He is a bit of a prankster.
  • Gerdur – Runs the mill along with Hod. Descendant of the founders of Riverwood. She is Ralof's sister.
  • Hadvar – An Imperial soldier and nephew of Alvor.
  • Hilde – The mother of Sven. She claims that she has seen a dragon, but nobody believes her.
  • Hod – Runs the mill along with Gerdur, and will buy firewood.
  • Lucan Valerius – Owns the Riverwood Trader.
  • Orgnar – He and Delphine own the Sleeping Giant Inn.
  • Ralof – Is a member of the Stormcloaks who lives at the home of his sister Gerdur and her husband Hod.
  • Sigrid – The wife of Alvor.
  • Stump – Frodnar's dog.
  • Sven – The son of Hilde and the local bard. He and Faendal have a crush on Camilla Valerius. Possible follower depending on the Dragonborn's choice in the "Love Triangle" quest.
  • Whiterun Guards – A trio of Whiterun Guards will be assigned to Riverwood if the Dragonborn completes Before the Storm. One will patrol the north gate, another the south, while the third patrols the town itself, generally around the south gate. If the Dovahkiin sided with the Stormcloaks and has completed the "Battle for Whiterun," these Guards remain but are replaced by Stormcloak Soldiers.

Riverwood quests

Quest Description Quest Giver Location
The Golden Claw Bring a family heirloom for Lucan Lucan Valerius Riverwood Trader
A Lovely Letter Deliver a forged letter to resolve a love triangle Sven or Faendal Sleeping Giant Inn
Alvor's Apprentice Help Alvor with various blacksmithing jobs Alvor Alvor's Workshop
Chop Wood Get paid to chop firewood Hod Hod and Gerdur's House

Related quests

Quest Description Quest Giver Location
A Blade in the Dark Prove to Delphine that the player is Dragonborn by slaying the dragon Sahloknir. Delphine Sleeping Giant Inn
A Cornered Rat Bring Esbern back to Delphine at Sleeping Giant Inn in Riverwood Delphine Sleeping Giant Inn

Diplomatic Immunity

Infiltrate a party at the Thalmor Embassy Delphine Sleeping Giant Inn

Nearby points of interest

  • Anise's Cabin
  • Embershard Mine
  • Guardian Stones
  • A bandit camp can be found between Helgen and Riverwood.
  • A hunter's camp can be found south-west of Riverwood on the banks of the river - directly south of Anise's Cabin on the opposite bank. It may prove useful for low-level characters, as the hunter can be killed or pickpocketed. His camp holds some useful items, and a Novice-Locked Chest with randomly generated loot. An iron ore vein is also present at the camp.
  • Bleak Falls Barrow
  • There is a hidden chest (Treasure Map I) across the river on the road leading into Whiterun in a tree trunk at the beginning of the game. Note that it will only be there if the Treasure Map I note from the bandit camp located between Helgen and Riverwood has been obtained.
  • Riverwood Folly



  • Riverwood was a prototype for towns in Skyrim, and was the first area in the game to be built to completion.
  • After crossing the stone bridge from Riverwood, there will be a fork in the road. If the road that heads towards the right is taken, stop at the first dead tree on the right side (Mora Tapinella is growing on it). Ants are coming out from the base of this dead tree and spilling out into the road.
    • There is an-ant covered tree stump directly across the stone bridge that is connected to Riverwood.
    • In Riverwood, ants can be found near the saw mill on a tree stump (land area surrounded by water).
  • Riverwood, aside from Riften, seems to be one of the places that's most often a target for thieves. On some nights, it is possible to see a thief trying to lockpick the Riverwood Trader's Shop, though they are often found and attacked by the guards. The main reason to this is most likely the Golden Claw inside the shop, as it was stolen before.
    • If the Golden Claw is given back to Lucan, there is a chance that two thieves will appear and attempt to steal it back. If the thieves are killed, Lucan will thank the Dragonborn.
  • After the quest "Battle for Whiterun," the guards in Riverwood will remain in their traditional yellow uniform, even if "Before the Storm" is completed after this quest. This is also apparent in Rorikstead.
  • There is a tree across the bridge from Riverwood, which will play a sound clip of birds scattering. There are some birds stuck in the tree.
  • When talking to Whiterun Guards, they often mention Riverwood not having a wall.
  • On the border of the town by the entrance from Helgen, there is a camp. The bed rolls aren't marked as owned. The guards use it after completing Before the Storm.


This section contains bugs related to Riverwood (Skyrim). 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  , 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.



  1. Events of "A Lovely Letter"
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