Geography of Jackson, Mississippi


Jackson is the capital and most populous city of Mississippi, located in the central part of the state. The city has a total area of 110.4 square miles, with 109.9 square miles being land and 0.4 square miles being water.

Jackson sits on the Pearl River and is located near the center of the state, about 90 miles east of the Mississippi River.

Jackson has a humid subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and mild, wet winters. The city experiences thunderstorms throughout much of the year and sometimes experiences tornadoes.

Topography and Hydrology

Pearl River

The Pearl River is the main hydrologic feature running through Jackson. The river flows from the northeast to the southwest through the city. Several creeks, including Town Creek, flow into the Pearl River within the Jackson city limits.

The Pearl River reaches its highest point in April and its lowest in September. Severe flooding of the Pearl River has occurred in Jackson, most notably in 1979 and 2020.

Levees and other flood control measures have been implemented over the years to help reduce flood risks.

Hills and Valleys

Jackson has a hilly landscape, with several ridges and valleys running through the metro area. The highest point in the city is the Reservoir Hill Water Tank at 735 feet above sea level. The lowest point is the Pearl River at 296 feet above sea level.

Some of the notable hills and ridges in Jackson include:

  • Fondren Hill
  • Belhaven Hill
  • Woodland Hills
  • North Jackson Ridges
  • South Jackson Ridges

These hills shape the topography of Jackson’s neighborhoods and affect drainage patterns across the city. Valleys tend to have higher flood risks than adjacent hilltops and ridges.

Neighborhoods and Districts

Jackson is informally divided into several neighborhoods and districts, each with their own geography and landscapes:

Downtown Jackson

This area encompasses Jackson’s central business district and historic core. Downtown sits on relatively flat, low-lying land along the Pearl River.

Developed in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Downtown has a compact street grid and contains many of Jackson’s high-rise buildings.

North Jackson

North Jackson refers to the neighborhoods north of Downtown. It contains hills and valleys and has more rugged terrain compared to other parts of Jackson. Key neighborhoods in North Jackson include Fondren, Belhaven, and Woodland Hills.

West Jackson

West Jackson lies west of Downtown and the Pearl River. It is home to Jackson State University and has a mix of residential and commercial areas. The State Capitol building sits on a rise overlooking Downtown to the east.

South Jackson

South Jackson stretches below Downtown to the southern city limits. It contains several long ridges that generally run southwest to northeast through the area. Neighborhoods include Country Club Hills and Savannah Hills.

Northeast Jackson

This part of Jackson includes the neighborhoods northeast of Downtown. It features relatively flat terrain and has seen rapid suburban residential and commercial growth in recent decades. Major suburbs include Ridgeland and Madison.

Parks and Greenspace

Jackson has numerous parks and greenspaces that provide recreation and help shape the urban landscape and hydrology:

LeFleur’s Bluff State Park

Located along the Pearl River, this large state park has hiking trails, camping, fishing, and other outdoor activities. The heavily wooded park helps absorb runoff and prevent downstream flooding.

Smith Park

One of Jackson’s largest urban parks at 300 acres. It features sports fields, a golf course, lakes, and woodlands. The park’s lakes and vegetation help manage stormwater drainage for the surrounding area.

L.E. Willis Memorial Arboretum

This 65-acre arboretum and botanical garden contains hundreds of plant species. It contributes to Greenspace in the city and is located adjacent to the Pearl River.

Battlefield Park

Sitting on the site of the Battle of Jackson during the Civil War, this park preserves Greenspace in downtown. It features memorials, trails, and a large pond.

Climate and Weather


Jackson has hot, humid summers and mild, wet winters. The average high in July, the hottest month, is 92°F. January is the coldest month with an average high of 53°F and an average low of 32°F.


Jackson sees high rainfall throughout the year. The wettest month is March with an average of 5.5 inches. August is the driest at 3.3 inches on average.

Wet weather comes from frontal systems, thunderstorms, and occasional tropical systems. Snow occurs one to two times a year during the winter. Annual precipitation averages about 55 inches.

Severe Weather

Severe thunderstorms frequently impact Jackson from March through August. These can bring damaging winds, hail, and tornadoes. Jackson’s most recent major tornado outbreak was in 2014.

Flash flooding occurs when heavy rains overwhelm drainage systems and waterways in the city. Major floods hit along the Pearl River in 1979 and 2020.

Environmental Issues


Expanding urban development has led to loss of Greenspace and increased surface runoff in Jackson. Flooding has become more frequent in developed areas with high levels of impervious surfaces. The city is working to improve stormwater management practices.

Air and Water Quality

Vehicle emissions and industrial pollution have impacted Jackson’s air quality at times. The Pearl River suffers from elevated levels of contaminants due to urban and agricultural runoff. Improved regulation and conservation efforts seek to address these environmental concerns.

Invasive Species

Non-native plants such as Chinese privet and kudzu vine have invaded natural areas and adversely affected Jackson’s ecology. Control programs are in place to remove invasives and restore native vegetation.


Jackson has a diverse geography shaped by its hilly terrain, the Pearl River, neighborhoods with distinct identities, a humid subtropical climate, and the environmental impacts of urbanization.

Looking to the future, balancing growth and development with ecological preservation will be important for maintaining Jackson’s landscapes and natural resources.

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  • Start out heading southeast on I-55 S toward Jackson. Take exit 98B toward MS-18/Adams St/US-51. Keep left to stay on Exit 98B and merge onto US-51 S/Adams St. Turn right onto Northview Dr. The destination will be on your right. Your route is 6.6 miles total.
  • Begin on East County Line Road heading south. Turn right to merge onto I-20 West toward Jackson. Take exit 50A towards I-55 South/Brookhaven. Merge onto I-55 South and travel for around 4 miles. Take exit 98B for US-51 S/Adams St and keep left to continue on exit 98B. Merge onto US-51 S/Adams St and go for 1.5 miles. Make a right onto Northview Dr and your destination will be on the right just past Kilburn Ave. You will travel 11 miles total.
  • Start out on State St in downtown Jackson heading north. Turn right onto Pearl St and continue for half a mile. Take the ramp onto I-55 North. Drive for around 2 miles then take exit 100 for Briarwood Dr toward US 51/Northside Dr. Turn left onto Briarwood Dr then quickly turn right onto Northside Dr. After a third of a mile, turn left onto Northview Dr. 3829 Northview Dr will be on your right after passing Kilburn Ave. Your total travel distance is approximately 5 miles.