Burnmoor Tarn is one of the largest entirely natural tarns in the Lake District, and sits in a dramatic location at the foot of Scafell.
The tarn is seen clearly from Whin Rigg and Illgill Head, the two fells of the Wasdale Screes, and from the southern slopes of Scafell.
Burnmoor Tarn is a classic example of a misleading landscape feature. From most angles the natural assumption is that the tarn must drain south-west into Miterdale. In fact its waters flow into Whillan Beck, at the tarn's north-eastern corner. The beck then immediately turns south, and flows into Eskdale, joining the Esk at Beckfoot. Most of Scafell's water joins Whillan Beck after it has left the tarn, so most of tarn's water comes from Illgill Head to the west and Boat How and Eskdale Moor to the south, flying in via a network of nameless becks.
The tarn can be reached from three directions. The major path from Wasdale Head to Eskdale runs past the tarn (this was originally the corpse road along which bodies were taken from Wasdale Head for burial at Boot), which can thus be approached from either Brackenclose in Wasdale or Boot in Eskdale (Eskdale Mill is powered by the waters that flow from the tarn). It can also be approached from Miterdale by following either the valley bottom path, which runs up to Burnmoor Lodge, at the southern side of the tarn, or the path that runs up onto Tongue Moor and around Illgill Head on its way to Wasdale.