Dunharrow was a clifftop overlooking Harrowdale, the valley of the river Snowbourn. In order to reach the refuge, a winding path had to be used, known as the Stair of the Hold. This path was lined with statues known as the Púkel-men, statues originally carved by the Men of the White Mountains, in the likeness of the Drúedain. The "Firienfeld", a large grassy area for the encampment of soldiers and refuge-seekers, preceded the stair. Large carved stones marked the entrance to the Dimholt, a natural amphitheater, with a road leading to the Paths of the Dead.
Dunharrow had been used as a refuge by the Middle Men of the White Mountains during the Second Age several centuries before Rohan, and by the Rohirrim during the War of the Ring, while Dunhere was Lord of Dunharrow.