The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is filled will secrets and surprises. I’ve been playing Skyrim since its release in 2011, and to this day, I still discover quest items and secrets that I have never seen before. The Dawnstar Chest is a well-known glitch or secret within the Skyrim community.
But did you know there are two other secret chests hidden in Skyrim containing an assortment of goodies and equipment? If you’ve never heard of the Dawnstar Chest before, then you’re in the right place.
There’s more than meets the eye to the Dawnstar Chest and other secret chests hidden in Skyrim, and I will explain it all. But before I begin, I want to clarify that the Dawnstar Chest and other hidden chests have not been patched from the game.
Players that own The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition or Anniversary Edition can still find these secret chests. So Lace up your boots and trade your heaviest gear with Lydia. We’ve got treasure to loot!
Bottom Line-Up Front
If your time is short and you’ve got gold to make in Skyrim, don’t worry. I’ve got all the important information here:
Just a little disclaimer exploiting the Dawnstar Chest and other secret chests will undoubtedly turn you into the richest Dragonborn in all of Skyrim, even richer than Emperor Titus Mede II himself. Therefore this is, without a shadow of a doubt, cheating. You can purchase any weapon, equipment, or house in Skyrim.
Note that the Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch moves all the hidden chests so that there inaccessible to the player. So if you have this mod installed, you won’t be able to access any of the Khajiit Caravan merchant chests or other merchant chests in this guide.
- Dawnstar Chest: Found left of the entrance to Iron-breaker Mine in Dawnstar. The chest contains Ahkari’s inventory, one of the traveling Khajiit Caravans. The chest is replenished with gear every two days.
- Markath Chest: Found outside of Markarth City near Left Hand Mine, behind the wall next to the bridge. This chest contains Ri’saad’s inventory and will replenish every two days.
- Solitude Chest: Found near the Solitude gate. Turn right and walk off the road, and the chest can be found in the ground at the foot of a small tree. This secret chest contains the inventory of Ma’jhad, the third and final Khajiit Caravan merchant. The chest replenishes stock every two days.
The inventory of each chest in this guide can be replenished by waiting two days and talking to the merchant or NPC that owns each specific chest. These glitches and secret chests can be found on all platform versions of the game. If you’re playing on PC, you can type TCL into the command console to walk through walls to make accessing the chests out of bounds easier.
Hidden Chests and Secret Rooms
Here’s some background on the Dawnstar Chest and the two other lesser-known chests hidden in Skyrim. The Dawnstar Chest is a hidden chest located left of the Iron-Breaker Mine in Dawnstar. However, if you’re looking for a regular wooden chest, you won’t find one.
You may be thinking Bethesda isn’t exactly known for their glitch-free games, but for an invisible chest, thats peculiar. The chest actually contains Ahkari’s inventory, one of the three Khajiit Caravans that roam Skyrim. The Solitude Chest and Markarth Chest also contain the inventory of the remaining two Khajiit Caravans. But why can players access this?
Bethesda put its heart and soul into crafting and presenting the greatest Elder Scrolls game for its fans. They left a lot of clutter from development behind. For example, players can visit the Developer Room themselves by entering coc QASmoke into the Console Command.
Although it resembles a dungeon straight out of a true crime documentary, this room is filled with every item in the game and serves as an area for the developers to test the game. But while the Dev Room is hidden away and is only accessible through the Command Console, merchant chests can be found hidden around Skyrim, so what gives?
The answer lies somewhere in the coding; here is my non-developer take on it. Bethesda needed a way to store merchant NPC stock in the world, and for lack of a better method, chose to store their stock in otherwise thought inaccessible chests.
The Dawnstar Chest
- The Dawnstar Chest contains Ahkari’s inventory, the Khajiit Caravan merchant who wanders from Dawnstar to Riften. The chest is found left of the entrance of Iron-Breaker Mine in Dawnstar.
The Khajiit Caravans stock valuable gear, so you can find all kinds of trinkets and powerful weapons in the Dawnstar Chest. The contents of the Dawnstar Chest are not tagged as stolen; therefore, the player is free to take as many items as they want.
Remember, because the Dawnstar Chest is Ahkari’s inventory, she will not have any items to sell or money to barter items from you once you’ve looted the entire chest.
The Dawnstar Chest is still accessible to new characters, although Dawnstar is located very far from Whiterun (the first major city new characters will visit). You can travel to Dawnstar in a flash of a loading screen by hitching a lift on a carriage for a cheap fifty Septims.
The route from Dawnstar to Riften that Ahkari travels on is a dangerous route, to say the least. You’ll often find dragons and Frost Trolls along the route, so often save because the Dawnstar Chest won’t restock if Ahkari dies. To replenish the contents of the Dawnstar Chest, you must wait two days, followed by browsing Ahkari’s wares. If she has no items save the game, attack her and then reload your save.
Once again, browse her wares, and check her gold, as this is a good indicator of whether the Dawnstar Chest’s inventory has respawned. Next, Run back to the Dawnstar and loot all the goodies you can!
The Markarth Chest
The Markarth Chest contains Ri’saad’s inventory, one of the three wandering Khajiit Caravans of Skyrim that roams from Whiterun to Markarth. The chest is found behind the wall near the foot of the bridge leading to Markarth and Left-Hand Mine. This is right next to where Ri’saad sets his camp up.
Everybody babbles about the Dawnstar Chest, but I’d wager that fewer players know of the hidden chest of Markarth and Solitude. The chest’s purpose is exactly the same as the Dawnstar Chest, requiring a longer walk to get to.
I recommend bringing a follower to each of these hidden chests in Skyrim, as they contain too many items for the average player to haul. One of the greatest things about these hidden chests is that they scale with your character level, meaning the higher your character level, the better the stock you’ll find in them.
The Rich Skyrim Merchants mod has just under two million downloads and is a brilliant mod that increases the gold of all merchants in the game. Vanilla Skyrim merchants have a base gold of seven hundred and fifty, which is nowhere near enough to barter all your goods.
Ri’saad is a general merchant, so you will find all kinds of items in the Markarth hidden chest. The Markarth chest is the most reliable of the three Khajiit Caravan secret chests because Ri’saad is classed as an essential NPC.
The Solitude Chest
The Solitude Chest is found to the right of the Solitude gates, not to be confused with the Solitude entrance. Turn right at the gates and walk on the patch of grass and look down at the ground at the foot of a small bush. The chest contains Ma’dran’s inventory.
If you’re playing on Skyrim Anniversary Edition, this area will look a little different thanks to the visual overhaul.
Ma’dran travels between Solitude and Windhelm to profit from the Stormcloak Rebellion. As a result, the Solitude secret chest is the best-hidden chest to acquire weapons and armor. Therefore you will need a follower to haul the Solitude’s heavy weaponry and armor.
It’s important to note that Ma’dran is not an essential NPC and can die. If Ma’dran dies, the Solitude hidden chest will not restock with items. Moreover, you cannot get access to the chest while Ma’dran’s camp is settled in Solitude, as the camp blocks you from getting within range of the chest.
Extra Hidden Chests
These next chests will be harder to reach than the previous three. However, it’s guaranteed profit if you can get your hands on them. While the previous chests are accessible above ground, these next three chests will require you to do some spelunking, so to speak. In this next section, you’re going to break the game.
You’d assume that walking through walls and falling through the floor would be patched by Bethesda in the later versions of Skyrim. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition and Anniversary Edition. But these glitches still work in the latest versions.
However, just like the Dawnstar Chest and other Khajiit Caravan chests, the Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch mod patches access to the following chests.
The Skyforge Chest
This heist will require you to get athletic, walking through walls and jumping below the ground, so save the game before you make your attempt. To get to the Skyforge chest, head right after entering Whiterun and enter the small stone room with a barrel. Next, jump on top of the barrel and then jump onto the right wall.
Once you’re on top of the wall, walk along the wall to the left side and jump down into the Skyrim overworld. Now run all the way around Whiterun until Dragonsreach can be seen. You’ll know you’re close when you see a tower.
Walk up the rocky outcrop, and you should see the back of the Skyforge eagle statue. Walk between the Whiterun and rock wall to glitch underneath the Skyforge and reach the chest. Now that you’ve reached the chest, you can loot all of Eorlund Gray-Mane’s inventory. I recommend stealing your gold back after training your Smithing skill with him from the chest.
Because you can’t bring a follower to the chest, I recommend you first walk to the Skyforge and command your follower to wait near the Grindstone. Eorlund Gray-Mane is a blacksmith, and as a result, his stock will quickly over-encumber you.
Each time you loot the chest, you can walk beneath the Grindstone, jump up and talk to your follower to trade the chest’s contents with them. You can also use this method after waiting forty-eight hours and talk with Eorlund while he is using the Grindstone to restock his inventory.
The Blue Palace Chest
The Blue Palace Chest requires a different technique to get access to the chest, but it’s a lot faster.
Enter the Blue Palace in Solitude and pick up the platter on the table left of the entrance. Head down the left corridor from the Blue Palace entrance. You’ll come across a bench on the right-hand side of the corridor. Drop the Platter out of your inventory and pick it up with the drag button and push it against the wall.
Sprint against the wall with the Platter in front of you, and you’ll eventually pop through the wall and see a strip of ground. Follow this strip to the end and look down to see the Court Wizard’s chest.
Prepare to interact with it before jumping down. If you miss the chest, the game will teleport you back to the Blue Palace entrance. This chest is perfect for a mage character or player who wants to stock up on Soul Gems, as the chest belongs to Sybille Stentor, the Blue Palace court wizard.
This chest is a bit different than the previous chests as all items within are classed as owned. Therefore to sell these goods, you must take them to a fence. In the event Sybille dies, Melaran will take over as the Blue Palace Court Wizard. However, Melaran does not count as a merchant, so the Blue Palace hidden chest will not restock.
The Windhelm Chests
Now that we’ve upped our thieving skills to steal the Blue Palace Court Wizard’s chest, it’s time to take on an entire shopping district.
The player’s targets are the three merchants in the market area of Windhelm, just next to the graveyard. You’ll need a follower for this next part. Command your follower to “do something for you” and ask them to wait in the market. Do not use the “Wait Here” dialogue option; you must command your follower to steal from the chests later.
Once your follower is waiting in the market, exit the market with the smelter to the right, walk up the path with the gold-looking fence and turn left in the opening to be faced with a house. Next, walk through the wall right of the property’s door. Yep, it really is that easy to get out of the map. (Thanks, Bethesda). Now walk through the house and drop down outside.
Walk along Windhelm’s outer walls, turning left when you reach the edge. Keep following the walls and walk over the water until you gradually drop enough to get under Windhelp. Take a hard left and look up to see the market and chests full of goodies.
Now that you’re in position, command your follower to steal from each of the four chests by placing your crosshair on each chest. The chests are classed as owned. However, the merchants will not be able to see your follower steal from the chests.
The items do not get tagged as stolen when your follower successfully steals items. So you don’t need to worry about selling them to a fence. To return to the surface, pull out your map and fast-travel to a location. You can replenish each merchant’s stock by waiting two days and speaking to each merchant.
Using this method, you’ll easily rack up thousands of Septims and acquire a wide range of items. (I have to admit, this one made me feel dirty!)
The College of Winterhold Merchant Chests
This next exploit will test your falling and acrobatic skills! This exploit is perfect for those looking to acquire Daedra Hearts fast or low on Soul Gems. You will be able to get access to some very valuable Mage loot. Whether to be used or sold, this glitch is one of the most lucrative.
To get to the two chests, enter the Hall of Attainment and pick up the Silver Platter on the floor by the staircase and the small hay bail.
Sprint towards the wall that the Silver Platter was conveniently left in front of while holding the Silver Platter in front of you. You want to aim slightly to the right to reach the two chests. In this exploit, your character will continually fall once entering the wall.
You’ll need to time your fall and interaction with the chest to open the chests. This will take you a few tries. It’s okay if you miss the chest; the game will teleport you back to the entrance of the Hall of Attainment to start the attempt again.
The College of Winterhold Mage Chests
Four chests remain in the College of Winterhold to steal. However, to reach these, you will need to obtain four “Do Not Delete Chests” these chests can be placed in the world to act as stepping stones to get to the four hidden chests.
These chests are located in the Hall of Countenance. You’ll notice a pattern of black bricks on the floor. You can use these as guides to access one of the chests. Turn right from the entrance and count three of the black stripes on the floor. Next, crouch, and you’ll find a hidden chest belonging to Colette Marence.
To access the other three chests, use the Silver Platter from the Hall of Attainment and use the same wall glitching method to walk through the small wall to the left of the room’s doorway with a bear’s head mounted above a bed.
Once through, look down, and you should see a void in between the floor of each room jump down and open your inventory while looking down and place a “Do Not Delete Chest” below. Next, aim toward the four chests, place another “Do Not Delete Chest,” and jump to it.
Continue this method until you’re in range of the chests!
- Phinis Gestor: First chest from the left.
- Faralda: Second chest from the left.
- Colette Marence: Third chest from the left.
- Drevis Neloren: Fourth Chest from the left.
Tips for Exploiting Hidden Chests
So you’ve discovered the hidden chests stolen from the Khajiit Caravans for all their worth and stolen right from under Eorlund Gray-Mane’s nose (literally). But you still want more! I should have known I’m dealing with an unruly thief from the Thieves Guild!
Now free equipment and money are always good. But you can get even more free money by investing in the following Speech Perks:
- Merchant: This perk enables the player to sell items regardless of type to any merchant. This perk will help you sell all the unwanted gear you stole from the hidden chests.
- Investor: This perk enables the player to invest five hundred gold in a merchant to increase their gold permanently. This is an essential perk as it will add more gold to each hidden chest and make it easier to sell your items.
- Master Trader: This perk increases all merchants in Skyrim’s gold by a thousand for battering. This further increases the amount of gold found in the hidden chests.
Equip the Masque of Clavicus Vile Daedric Artifact helmet for good measure. This helmet increases the player’s Speech by 10 points and grants the player 20% better prices when bartering for goods.
Question: How can You Spawn in the Khajiit Caravan Camps in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim?
Answer: You can spawn in Khajiit Caravans at each of their locations in Whiterun, Markarth, Dawnstar, Riften, Windhelm, and, Solitude by using the “Wait” feature.
If you’re exploiting the Dawnstar Chest glitch, talk to Kharjo to acquire a quest to retrieve his Moon Amulet. Once you have the Moon Amulet in your inventory the quest marker will point in whatever direction Ahkari’s caravan is.
Sometimes the Khajiit Caravans will be set up before they arrive at the location. Therefore, if you see an empty camp use the “Wait” function to give them time to arrive.
Question: How Can I Remove the “Stolen” Tag from Items in Skyrim?
Answer: You can pickpocket humanoid enemies, place the stolen goods on them, and then kill them. Alternatively, you could trade the stolen goods with your follower and ask them to leave your service.
Stolen crafting materials can be used in crafting, such as Alchemy, Enchanting, Smithing, and Cooking, to remove the stolen tag. This is a surefire way to save money while leveling your skills.
Question: What Happens to Your Stolen Items When Detained by a Guard in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim?
Answer: If a guard captures you with stolen goods in your inventory, all your items will be taken as evidence and stored within the town’s guard barracks. You can persuade guards to let you keep your stolen goods for two hundred gold.
There are many other secret chests in Skyrim waiting to be plucked. However, it’s not necessary to loot them all. The chests showcased in this guide are plenty to make you a ton of money. The Khajiit Caravan chests and Dawnstar Chest alone will make you a small fortune.
The Dawnstar Chest and the Solitude and Markarth chests are the easiest to access. Remember that the quality of a merchant’s wares is dependent on how high your character level is. The higher your level, the more valuable the stock.
I personally don’t use this glitch, as it’s technically cheating. Moreover, it can make you very overpowered and rich. However, I’d consider using this trick to obtain items for leveling my character’s Smithing and Enchanting skills.
The Dawnstar Chest revealed a big problem with Bethesda’s development of Skyrim, and it’s a mistake that I doubt they will make again developing The Elder Scrolls VI.