Dale lies directly before the gates of Erebor and the headwaters of the Running River, within a wide valley encircled by the great southern and south-eastern spurs of the Lonely Mountain.
The mountain sides, long barren due to the Dragon’s influence, grow green again, though they lack the great trees they once bore. Due to the mountain’s ridges, Dale lies often in shadow. The sun rising over the south-eastern spur doesn’t directly touch Dale till mid- morning, when the first rays reach the front gate of the Royal Palace and shade is cast again once the sun has passed into the west behind the southern spur.

Dale is enclosed by a tall crenellated wall that encompasses more space than the town presently occupies, for it was built upon the foundations of the old fortification that encircled the ancient city. Along the north, all of the east, and part of the southern wall, the River Running flows, before heading south down to the Long Lake and beyond. Outside of the southern reaches of the wall stands a large complex of landings and quays where a constant stream of traffic comes and goes along the river.