Following the Confusion of Tongues at Babel, Jared's brother was directed by the Lord to take his group and leave following a specific course revealed to him by the Lord. He was told:
And ... thou shalt go at the head of them down into the valley which is northward. And there will I meet thee, and I will go before thee into a land which is choice above all the lands of the earth. And it came to pass that Jared and his brother, and their families, and also the friends of Jared and his brother and their families, went down into the valley which was northward, (and the name of the valley was Nimrod, being called after the mighty hunter). Ether 1:40-42; 2:1.
Where is this northward valley named Nimrod? If the site of Babel were located, as is generally assumed, in the Tigrus-Euphates valley, the valley of Nimrod would lay somewhere to the north of present day Iraq or Iran. The terrain to the north of this region is quite mountainous, including major mountains such as Mount Ararat at 16,000 plus feet. To the south, the lower Tigrus-Euphates delta area is only about 50 feet above sea level, while near Baghdad it rises to about 150 feet. At the headwaters of the Tigrus-Euphates, where some feel Babel was located, it rises to above 1000 feet. Continuing north, the mountain ranges rise to average elevations of 5000-6000 feet and more.
There are only a few small mountain valleys in this region, all of them higher than the Tigrus Euphates valley. The only large, prominent valley is that of the Kura-Aras lowland, or depression, which is the basin formed by the Aras and the Kur rivers. These rivers originate in the mountains of Armenia and Georgia and flow eastward through Azerbaijan to the Caspian Sea. This basin dominates central Azerbaijan and slopes down from the west to the Caspian Sea, which is actually lower than sea level. As a result of this low elevation, this valley would be "down" from any point in Mesopotamia.
The Kura-Aras lowland is about 600 miles northeast of Baghdad, and lies on the north side of the northern Iranian highlands. I feel that this is a good candidate for "the valley which was northward," and as such would have been the starting point of the Jaredite odyssey. It may have derived its name from having been a favorite hunting area for king Nimrod, the great hunter.