The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim dragon hunting guide

Roosts & Other Encounters

The previous encounters are far from the only fights with your draconic foes. There are four named dragons to encounter out in the world, random dragons to battle in almost every location, as well as just out in the wild and a number of dragon roosts where the beasts guard word walls. As you pass certain milestones the dragons will become more common: 

• The first milestone is after killing Mirmulnir. Dragons will now begin to appear all across the world although they’re still a fairly rare sight.

• The second milestone is after acquiring Dragonrend. Dragons will become much more common and appear fairly often whenever you arrive at a city.

• The last milestone is after completing the main storyline. Dragons will appear constantly at this point, attacking you damn near any time you fast travel to a city or dungeon.

Named Dragons


When you arrive in a small hamlet that you haven’t visited before Nahagliv will come to attack. For this guide the beast attacked upon arrival at Rorikstead during the “A Night to Remember” quest. He is essentially a beefed up version of a blood dragon.


After the wise dragon helps you battle Alduin for the first time the Blades will demand that you kill Paarthurnax in revenge for his actions ages ago. If you don’t do this then they will never point out other dragon roosts to you which means no more dragon slaying assistance. Doing this for them has the side effect of angering the Greybeards to the point that they will no longer tell you where Words of Power may be located.

That said the big guy is easy enough to kill. Hit him with Dragonrend while he is still neutral to you and then lay into him with your strongest attacks. He goes down surprisingly fast. You traitorous dog.


Vinthuruth is something of a random encounter although he is quite dangerous. He attacks upon leaving a random dungeon, occurring at the end of a Thieves Guild quest in the video below. Depending on the location that this frost dragon attacks you in he may have an ally with him - either a fellow frost dragon or a weaker blood dragon. Just to be safe heal up before leaving any dungeons after you’ve obtained Dragonrend since that’s when he starts spawning.


One of the most dangerous random enemies in the game, Vuljotnaak is a very powerful elder dragon who attacks you en route to a Word of Power. This has occurred on the way to Greywater Gorge and Grey Crone Rock so it seems to be fairly random. Whenever he attacks you’re going to need to be on the top of your game since one solid breath attack can actually kill a weaker character, notably if you’re lacking hit points or resistance to fire. 

Dragon Roosts

Ancients Ascent

Ancient’s ascent is located in the mountains to the east of Falkreath. There are two ways up the mountain to your destination. The first path is a mountain path up the side of the mountain - this path is often guarded by a dragon that attempts to weaken you before you can deal with the beast at the top of the route. 

An easier way to get to the destination is by going through Bonechill Passage, a small cave with a Frost Troll in it. This is clearly the easier path so head on through it and battle the dovah.

Autumnwatch Tower

Found southeast of Ivarstead up a twisted path through the mountains, getting to Autumnwatch is actually harder than fighting the dragon. Unfortunately there are a bunch of bears along the path to distract you terribly from what you’re trying to do. This will often be one of the first locations that the dragon hunters ask you to meet them at.

Bonestrewn Crest

This is one of the easier dragon roosts to get to. Head south from Winterhold right through the woodlands and up into the mountains to find this. More often than not the dragon will find you instead, coming down to attack you long before even reaching the word wall. Be careful as there is a non-hostile Hagraven in the area you may hit that can cause her to become hostile to you.

Eldersblood Peak

Above: Just south of the current location marker

This one is a huge pain in the rear end to get to. You’ll get there by either climbing the mountain to the north of Rannveig’s Fast and going over or taking a winding path just south of Morthal. The path is much more dangerous since there are Frost Trolls along very narrow paths. If the dragon attacks here you’ll be in big trouble. Going over the mountain works best as it will often prompt the dragon to attack when you have wide spaces to hang around in and battle the beast.

Lost Tongue Overlook

Above: Found in the mountains to the southeast of Riften

Another easy roost to get to, this one simply tasks you with trekking through the wilds south of Riften and then going southeast up the path. It’s almost certain that the dragon will attack while you’re wandering toward the actual path so it shouldn’t be an issue to fight it somewhere safe. Once it’s dead you can continue up the mountain to find the word wall easily.

Mount Anthor

Above: Located southwest of Winterhold

This one gets tricky. The dragon likes to roam far and wide which can mean you’ll fight him before even starting up the mountain, or you could battle him in the narrow pass. The pass itself has snow bears, giants and sometimes even Frost Trolls to contend with and they tend to prioritize you over the dragon for some reason. In addition there is often a second dragon flying around that will attack before you even get a chance to deal with the first one. As an example in the video below, a regular Dragon attacks shortly before a Frost Dragon comes to play.


  • Xerxes667 - December 4, 2011 7:57 p.m.

    ok... maybe it's just because of my level; 32: i did a lot of smithing which leveled me up quite quickly, but during the Kathspire Encounter, it was not a Frost Dragon that spawned but an Ancient Dragon, the first i ever faced, not only does he kill me but he slaughters my entire party (i have Lydia tagging along too) and the entire Forsworn camp at Kathspire.... i've tried to get past about 20 times and i keep dying. I'm a Nord focusing on Melee and Destruction Magic and i don't have Dragonrend yes (obviously) so he's just flying and strafing everyone.... how screwed am i? any suggestions?
  • ThundaGawd - December 4, 2011 4:22 p.m.

    I play a stealth character, and I play on master, so just about any open encounter with any type of enemy is extremely difficult, but for the most part, when it comes to fighting any type of dragon, I just use literally any cover I can find (I've hidden behind a tree a few times) and hop out to shoot with my bow whenever the dragon stops to hover and breathe fire/frost. Another thing you guys should've mentioned is the use of Shadowmere, the horse form the dark brotherhood questline. I'm honestly not sure whether or not it's a glitch, but Shadowmere has an insanely high health regeneration rate, making it literally impossible for it to be killed by an enemy because it's health regenerates faster than it takes damage, making it the perfect tank during dragon fights.
  • Person5 - December 4, 2011 11:37 p.m.

    Its not a glitch, he's supposed to have a high regen and max health, but he CAN die, two bears killed him in my game which is weird cus he charges at dragons without a scratch on him, so while hes a useful horse, do be careful, and if he does die I heard he comes back to life in 3 days in the area he died at (unconfirmed for me though since I just reloaded my save)
  • bradmillow0 - December 3, 2011 7:16 a.m.

    When I first fought Alduin I didn't die at all, I thought he was fairly easy and I didn't even have any followers with me at the time, with the exception of Paarthurnax
  • jag0023 - December 2, 2011 11:12 p.m.

    i don't know why maybe its my game but i have only encountered one dragon the first main story dragon
  • D0CCON - December 2, 2011 3:03 p.m.

    I made two characters and they both deal with dragons very easily. My battlemage hits it with super fireballs of death until it lands and I use a bound/daedric sword to finish it. I'm guessing you can figure out what my archer does to it.
  • Maineiac - December 2, 2011 2:51 p.m.

    Sorry to disagree but you are wrong about sneak attacks not working on dragons. While it is a hard situation to reproduce I was able to sneak up on a dragon and one hit kill it with a dagger thanks to the sneak tree dagger perk and dark brotherhood gloves.
  • Boomer1992 - December 2, 2011 1:09 p.m.

    On master difficulty, I usually find a thick tree or rock and play ring around the rosie with it until finally my bow has brought it to the ground.
  • HeavyTank - December 2, 2011 12:53 p.m.

    Very nice guide, although the game's weird lack of scaling means that now my character can actually one-hit dragons even on Hard, so sadly now nobody poses a challenge to him anymore.. Also, the Blades tell you to kill Paarth?How?Why?
  • Manguy17 - December 2, 2011 12:34 p.m.

    As an archer ive found killing dragonsto be very easy most of the time due to the (glitch?) dragons prioritising everything else in the area as a target before me, including bunnies. And if theres cover i can normally just pop out and shoot an arrow and hide. This said (this is probally also a glitch) it seems that dragons arent scaling very accurately. the last few have just be plain old dragons and im lvl 42.
  • Manguy17 - December 2, 2011 12:50 p.m.

    also, ive had one game breaking backwards dragon, stuck flying into a wall. if i shoot it twice it would die, glicth around trying to find a place to crash, and thus would drop the framerates to unlayable, if it saw me it either flew backwards 100 metres and then froze, or flew sideways into a cliff and gets stuck dragon hunting is interesting.
  • ShowMeYourKitties - December 2, 2011 11:55 a.m.

    It's good to hear that the thief build gets easier, cuz right now it sucks for fighting dragons. I always have to lure the dragon towards a group of npc's to fight for me.
  • Y2Ken - December 2, 2011 10:57 a.m.

    This is quite a useful guide. I'm comfortable now fighting dragons, although I do have to be a little careful - that bite finisher is a pain if you let them get too close. The first two random dragons I "fought" were both killed by giants, which definitely makes life a little easier. I've been doing a lot of hunting Words of Power (asking Arngeir for locations and then visiting them) so a number of those point you directly to dragon roosts.

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