Beinn a' Chaorainn lies at the northern end of a vast summit plateau known as the Moine Bhealaidh. At the southern end of the plateau lies neighbouring Munro Beinn Bhreach both Munros extend well above the plateau however Beinn a' Chaorainn is much larger. The two are normally climbed together. Like most of the Cairngorms Beinn a' Chaorainn is a remote hill with a long walk in from every direction.
The western face of Beinn a Chaorainn overlooks the Lairig an Laoigh and is extremely steep and craggy, however ascents from here can be made if you pick your way through the crags. From this angle you get a great view of the east face of Beinn Mheadhoin across the valley.
Access to Beinn a Chaorainn is normally from the south at Linn of Dee just west of Braemar but there is a long walk in to be had to this remote group of Munros. Much of the walk in can be cycled (as far as Derry Lodge) to reduce the walk in time.