Shades Mountain is a "cuesta" or homoclinal escarpment in Southern Jefferson County, running between Shades Creek and Alabama Highway 150. The northern slope of the mountain roughly defines the border between Homewood, in Shades Valley, and Vestavia Hills, atop the mountain.
The rugged escarpment of Shades Mountain was formed when softer layers of shale wore away from the sandstone and quartz pebble strata which mark the base of the Pennsylvanian-era Pottsville formation.
One prominent outcropping in Bluff Park forms a cliff near Tip Top Grill, with a local "Lovers' Leap" legend. Another outcropping along U.S. Highway 31 is home to Sibyl Temple.
Shades Crest Road travels the length of the ridge, stretching from Bluff Park in Hoover on the western end to U.S. Highway 280 in Mountain Brook, near the Shades Mountain Filter Plant, on the east.
- Friends of Shade Mountain website