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11.4 Blackreach


Related Quests

Main Quest: Elder Knowledge
Daedric Quest: Discerning the Transmundane
Side Quest: A Return to Your Roots
Dungeon Activity

Recommended Level: 18

Dungeon: Dwarven City

Dwarven Sphere
Dwarven Spider
Falmer Servant
Frost Troll
Frostbite Spider


Alchemy Lab
Arcane Enchanter


Dwarven Ballista Trap (lever)
Dwarven Thresher Trap (pressure plate)
Dwarven Thresher Trap (lever)
Swinging Blade Trap (pressure plates/lever)


Button Puzzle

Underground Connections

Alftand [4.13]
Blackreach Elevator (Alftand) [3.26]
Blackreach Elevator (Raldbthar) [3.33]
Mzinchaleft [2.18]
Mzinchaleft Exterior [2.18]
Raldbthar [3.32]
Tower of Mzark [3.15]

Quest Items

Crimson Nirnroot
Elder Scroll
Runed Lexicon


Skill Book [Alchemy]: De Rerum Dirennis
Skill Book [Block]: Warrior
Skill Book [Heavy Armor]: 2920, MidYear, v6
Skill Book [Smithing]: The Armorer’s Challenge
Skill Book [Speech]: A Dance in Fire, v6
Area Is Locked (quest required)
Loose gear
Mineable ore (Corundum)


(click here to view an interactive version of this map)


Find additional Crimson Nirnroot plants inside of several of Blackreach’s interior locations, such as Sinderion’s Field Laboratory, the Silent Ruin, and the Derelict Pumphouse (among others).

A) Exit to Mzinchaleft Gatehouse [2.18]
B) Elevator to Alftand Cathedral [4.13]
C) Exit to Blackreach Elevator (Raldbthar) [3.33]
D) Exit to Blackreach Elevator (Alftand) [3.26]
E) Elevator to Raldbthar Deep Market [3.32]
F) Exit to Mzinchaleft Exterior [2.18]

1) Reeking Tower

The dwarves’ capital city of Blackreach has been abandoned for ages and now serves as home to vicious Falmer.

This great subterranean metropolis houses many secrets for those brave enough to probe its depths. Blackreach features multiple access elevators, but your first visit occurs during Daedric Quest: Discerning the Transmundane, in which you will likely travel through Alftand [4.13].

Therefore, the first time you enter Blackreach, you’ll find yourself at [B], unless you chose one of the alternate routes.

Once you’ve accessed Blackreach, you may use any of the city’s elevators to return to the surface. Some elevators connect to major dwarven ruins across Skyrim, such as Raldbthar [3.32] in the Pale.

Others simply lead to lone elevator towers that stand in the wilderness. Ride each of Blackreach’s elevators to open more and more surface connections to Blackreach—this makes moving to and from the great hidden city much easier.

The terrain of Blackreach becomes tumultuous around the edges of the cavern but is otherwise quite level and easy. Expect to face a blend of dwarven security units, Falmer, and various cave dwellers like the Chaurus and Frostbite Spider. Encounters with other, more powerful creatures such as trolls and giants are rare.

Aside from exploring the Tower of Mzark [10] as part of the “Discerning the Transmundane” quest, you may also collect special Crimson Nirnroots as part of Side Quest: A Return to Your Roots. Around 50 of these special red plants grow throughout Blackreach.

Many are labeled on the map provided here in this guide, while others are found inside of Blackreach’s interior points of interest. Use this resource to track them down, then pinpoint their locations by the soft ringing sound each plant produces.

Collect the requisite number of Crimson Nirnroot pants to advance the quest.

Scale a rocky slope to reach this tall northern tower, then circle around to locate its door. Enter and slay a handful of overgrown Frostbite Spiders on your way to the far elevator, which takes you back out to Blackreach.

You’ll find yourself standing near a neighboring tower to the one you entered. Slay a few more spiders out here to cleanse this place.

2) Sinderion’s Field Laboratory

This small lab is likely to be your first stop in Blackreach. Claim plenty of loot here and use the crafting stations to prepare yourself for the dangers that lurk in the dark. If you are planning on a long exploration of Blackreach, this is a great place to use as a base camp.

Inspect the remains of Sinderion to acquire his informative journal and obtain a new quest that involves collecting Crimson Nirnroot from around Blackreach.

Crafting: Alchemy Lab, Arcane Enchanter, Workbench
Crimson Nirnroot
Skill Book [Alchemy]: De Rerum Dirennis
Chests (2)
Apothecary’s Satchel

3) Silent Ruin

Enter this small chamber to obtain a Skill Book and some Crimson Nirnroot, but avoid the pressure plate near the throne.

Danger! Dwarven Thresher Trap (pressure plate)
Crimson Nirnroot
Skill Book [Block]: Warrior

4) Hall of Rumination

The Hall of Rumination is one of three structures located at Blackreach’s city center. Several lowly Falmer and Falmer Servants mill about the main chamber. Slay them and then notice a gate that you can’t seem to open.

Pull a lever on the balcony to the east of the gate to open it, but head through the nearby east doors first to secure a sleeping area and a room with a chest. Now go through the west gate and head upstairs to discover another chest. Take the nearby elevator up to a high exterior balcony, looping around to discover some Crimson Nirnroot outside.

Crimson Nirnroot
Chests (2)

5) Pumping Station

Exit the Debate Hall [6] via its northeast door and cross a walkway to enter this small workshop. The Pumping Station connects to the Silent City Catacombs [7] and houses a handful of poorly armed Falmer Servants.

Exit through the northeast door so you may reenter via the northwest door and access a chest on the west balcony.

6) Debate Hall

Plenty of Falmer and Falmer Servants lurk within the Debate Hall. The main attraction here is the Skill Book that lies on a small table near a skeleton in the east alcove.

Skill Book [Speech]: A Dance in Fire, v6

7) Silent City Catacombs

Nab some Crimson Nirnroot on your way into this sewer network, which lies just east of Blackreach’s city center. Slay a Falmer and loot a chest in the first hall, then jump the pairs of pressure plates in the hall that follow, or use the lever in the nook beyond the gate to trigger the blades and slice up any patrolling enemies.

Proceed until you reach a watery chamber, then dive underwater to locate three submerged chests. Proceed through the next passage and slay another Falmer to obtain a useful key. Make your way through the south door to reach the final room, where you find more Falmer and a door that connects to Blackreach’s Pumping Station [5].

Danger! Swinging Blade Trap (pressure plates/lever)
Crimson Nirnroot
Shaman’s Key (Falmer)
Chests (4)

8) War Quarters

This small area sports plenty of beds to rest upon. Complete your circuit through the War Quarters to locate a pair of chests on the entry room’s balcony.
Chests (2)

9) Farm Overseer’s House

This small abode offers you a place to rest and plenty of worthy plunder.

Chest (Locked: Novice)
Chest (Locked: Adept)
Loose gear

10) Tower of Mzark

This giant tower stands south of Blackreach’s city center and houses an item of tremendous power. Ride up the elevator, then raid a couple of locked chests and inspect a Skill Book in the room at which you arrive.

Scale a winding ramp to locate the remains of Drokt—read the nearby journal for some insight. Scale the remainder of the ramp to reach a control panel.

Insert the Blank Lexicon into the Lexicon Receptacle, then press the third button from the left until the second button from the left becomes active.

Now press the second button from the left until the first button on the left becomes active. Press this button until all of the buttons deactivate. Collect the Transcribed Lexicon from the Lexicon Receptacle and approach the central mechanism to obtain the mysterious Elder Scroll.

Proceed through the nearby door and use the elevator beyond to quickly return to the surface of Skyrim.

Elder Scroll
Runed Lexicon
Skill Book [Smithing]: The Armorer’s Challenge
Chests (Locked: Novice) (2)
Loose gear

11) Derelict Pumphouse

Destroy a dangerous Dwarven Spider here, then loot a chest that’s affixed to the wall. Another chest lies underwater; jump the pipes and turn a submerged valve to access the chest, then surface for a moment to snag some Crimson Nirnroot before turning another valve to escape the water.

Crimson Nirnroot
Chest (Locked: Adept)
Other Blackreach Locations

The following sites don’t have quite as much going on as the aforementioned locations but are still worth exploring:

i) Overpass

This overpass was presumably used to monitor the travel of workers to and from the city.

ii) Wispmother Encounter

Beware of this clearing, where wisps flutter about. A dangerous Wispmother will attack if you draw near. Crimson Nirnroot grows by the planks that span the nearby stream to the east.

Crimson Nirnroot

iii) Guard Towers

Dwarven soldiers likely watched from these towers as workers traveled to and from the city.

iv) Fungus Field

Blackreach’s giant glowing mushrooms are growing strong here. Find some Crimson Nirnroot growing near the pipes to the north.

Crimson Nirnroot

v) Sleeping Chaurus

Get the drop on a pair of giant, snoozing Chaurus by sneaking up to this site.

vi) Blackreach City: Main Gate

The gate to the dwarves’ capital city lies here, allowing entry from the south.

vii) Blackreach Arena

It is assumed that Falmer would have been made to fight at the small arena located here. Pulling the nearby lever causes a lethal spinning blade to stick up from the arena’s floor. Collect the Skill Book that rests on the nearby stone table. 

Danger! Dwarven Thresher Trap (lever)
Skill Book [Heavy Armor]: 2920, MidYear, v6

viii) Troll Den

A pair of vicious Frost Trolls guard a sprig of Crimson Nirnroot on a high ledge here.

Crimson Nirnroot

ix) Shrine

Find a bit of loot at the small shrine near the water down here, but beware of a Dwarven Sphere that emerges from the wall.

Crimson Nirnroot

x) Falmer Mining Camp

Dispatch a handful of dangerous Falmer here so you may raid the chests that they guard. If you like, mine some Corundum Ore from the vein near the leader’s tent. Crimson Nirnroot grows by the water.

Crimson Nirnroot
Chests (2)
Mineable ore (Corundum)

xi) Vulthuryol’s Gong

Notice the huge glowing orb floating above the Silent City at the center of Blackreach? Hit this distant target with your Unrelenting Force Shout and you’ll summon the dragon Vulthuryol, who will soar out of his hidden lair to rain fire upon the city before setting down on the southern road.