Red Tarn has a surface elevation of 718 m (2,356 ft), making it one of the highest bodies of water in the Lake District. It lies on the eastern flank of Helvellyn, surrounded by high ground on three sides. Notably, to the north is Swirral Edge, the rocky ridge that joins Catstye Cam to the main Helvellyn Plateau.
The tarn once used to supply power to the Greenside Lead Mine at Glenridding and is now a popular location for wild camping. Trout fishing is permitted, although it’s a long walk and the views are said to be better than the sport. This is one of the few locations in England where the rare and endangered Schelly can be found.