The Birmingham-Hoover Metro Area encompasses 5,332 square miles spread over Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker Counties. Birmingham itself is over 151 square miles.
Altitudes: Average: 620 ft. Range: 538 ft. to 1,200 ft.
Latitude: 33˚ 38′ N Longitude: 86˚ 50′ W
Birmingham occupies Jones Valley, flanked by long parallel mountain ridges of the Appalachian foothills running from north-east to south-west. The valley is drained by small creeks which flow into the Black Warrior River.
Red Mountain lies immediately south of downtown. Many of Birmingham’s television and radio broadcast towers are lined up along this prominent ridge. The “Over the Mountain” area, including Shades Valley, Shades Mountain and beyond, is home to the more affluent suburbs of Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills, Homewood, and Hoover. South of Shades Valley is the Cahaba River basin, one of the most diverse river ecosystems in America.
Sand Mountain, a smaller ridge, flanks the city to the north and divides Jones Valley from much more rugged land to the north. Ruffner Mountain, located due east of the heart of the city, is home to Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, one of the largest urban nature reserves in the United States.