Catbells has earned its reputation as one of the most popular fells in the Lake District because it is so easily accessible from Keswick and features fabulous views over Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite Lake, the Newlands Valley, Skiddaw and Keswick. To the south, there is an aerial view of Borrowdale. It stands on the western shore of Derwent Water at an elevation of 451 m (1,480 ft) and with a prominence of 86 m (282 ft).
Its parent peak is Dale Head and Wainwright described it as ‘a family fell’ – most ascents begin from Hawse End at the foot of the northern ridge, from where it is a gentle stroll to the summit. Hardier walkers can combine Catbells with a number of other fells on the Newlands Horseshoe route by continuing along the ridge to Maiden Moor, High Spy, Dale Head, Hindscarth and Robinson. Catbells itself is invariably very busy in fine weather and on holidays.