They are steep-sided quartzite hills with distinctive conical shapes resembling breasts. The word pap is an ancient word of Norse origin for the female breast. The Paps are conspicuous hills that dominate the island landscape as well as the landscape of the surrounding area. They can be seen from the Mull of Kintyre and, on a clear day, Skye and Northern Ireland.
One of the simplest routes of ascent starts from Craighouse. The route of the annual Isle of Jura Fell Race includes all three Paps and four other hills.