Skyrim: Dawnguard – How to Find Arvak the Skeleton Horse

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Skyrim’s first expansion takes you to a spooky plane of Oblivion where the undead roam freely, but you can find a faithful companion in the form of Arvak the Skeleton Horse. Stop playing hide and seek in the ghostly realm and learn how to discover this spectral horse. Once acquired, this horse can be summoned at will. It can’t be killed, and it can’t be lost, making it one of the most convenient companions available. Mix that with the new mounted combat in the new patch, and you’ve got a good friend. Get all the details on Arvak below.

Survive Dawnguard with our walkthrough. To find everything extra like achievement guides, locations, glitches, and whatever else we can discover get yourself over to the Skyrim: Dawnguard DLC cheats page.

For more information on vanilla Skyrim, that involves a lot more killing, check out our text and video walkthrough. For more hints, tips, and secrets, stop by the cheats page.

How to Find Arvak the Skeleton Horse

  • During the Main Quests of Dawnguard, you’ll travel to plane of Oblivion called the Soul Cairn. Here, you’ll need to hunt down a special Elder Scroll.
  • After completing the quest “Chasing Echoes” you’ll have access to the Soul Cairn whenever you want to return.
  • While on your quest with Serana, you’ll return to the exit portal. On the path back, you’ll hear an NPC yelling “Arvak! Arvak!”
  • You can speak with the souls yelling for Arvak, or you can find Arvak’s Skull in the Soul Cairn. It’s in an area with four pillars, surrounded by Wraith enemies. If you collect the Skull, you’ll unlock the side-quest and a waypoint will show you back to the NPC to complete.
  • Bring the Skull back to the soul and you’ll unlock the power to summon Arvak at will. Enjoy your new undead horse.

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10 Comments on Skyrim: Dawnguard – How to Find Arvak the Skeleton Horse


On June 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm

It apparently doesn’t work if you already have Shadowmere; you can find the skull, but there is no one to ‘return’ it to.


On June 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm


I’ve read people are having lots of Shadowmere-related issues in Dawnguard, like Armored Trolls can’t be recruited as companions while you have Shadowmere.


On June 27, 2012 at 7:43 pm

The Shadowmere rumors are false. I just found the Skull of Arvak and returned it to it’s owner no problem. When i went to his original location, he wasn’t there for a moment then he appeared out of no where and i was able to complete the quest


On June 28, 2012 at 11:12 am

oh well another glitched out quest…I found the skull first wondering aimlessly and I have never see the soul that originally gives you the quest not on the path leading out and no waypoint marker it just says return arvaks skull no one to return it to.


On June 29, 2012 at 1:37 am

Can you get this if you become a vampire? Is it the same storyline, or what?


On June 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm


You can get into the Soul Cairn and find the house with both factions, you’ll always eventually get to the quest where you’ll gain access if you follow the main chain of quests.


On July 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm

For those of you who are having waypoint issues: be sure to toggle your miscellaneous quests as active AND that you toggle Arvak’s quest in the misc tab as active.


On August 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I didn’t have a problem with owning Shadowmere and having the Arvak summoning spell. In fact, while Arvak is convenient, he isn’t a warhorse, so he won’t assist you in a fight like Shadowmere will. Also, it bears mentioning that you don’t have to return to the place where you received the Arvak quest, once you’ve found his skull: The lost soul who gave you the quest will be very close to where you find Arvak’s skull, once you kill off the Mistmen.


On February 1, 2013 at 7:42 pm