Part of the fast-growing Boise Metropolitan Area, Kuna is a city of around 25,000, with a population that has more than quadrupled since 2000.
Travel south, east or west of Kuna and you’ll be in open and sparsely-populated country, with an immense National Conservation Area protecting the rugged Snake River Canyon to the south.
In spring and early-summer the canyon rim offers one of the world’s great raptor-spotting experiences, while the Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey is a few miles east and gets you even closer to magnificent rescued birds.
In essence, Kuna brings the best of both worlds, blending the remoteness, wildlife and raw beauty of Southwest Idaho with the amenities and attractions of the third-largest urban area in the Pacific Northwest.
1. World Center for Birds of Prey
The Peregrine Fund, dedicated to the conservation of threatened and endangered birds of prey worldwide, is headquartered around ten miles east of Kuna.
The World Center for Birds of Prey was established in 1984 on a hilltop roost covering 580 acres and with views over Boise to the north. There’s much to see at the visitor center, both inside and outside.
At spacious aviaries you can go nose-to-beak with a variety of majestic birds, including California condors, peregrine falcons and harpy eagles.
These are birds that are either being prepared for release or need to remain in captivity for their own safety, and you’ll find out more about them at informative daily presentations in the center’s theater.
A highlight on the calendar is the annual release of California condors as part of the center’s breeding program, taking place in September.
Inside you can find out about the Peregrine Fund’s operations and peruse the Archives of Falconry, a high-quality exhibit charting the history of the ancient sport of falconry.
2. Indian Creek Greenbelt
A fine addition to the Kuna townscape is this waterside trail on the north bank of Indian Creek, a few steps from downtown.
The Indian Creek Greenbelt has a meandering paved path, ushering you through landscaped grassy spaces with a lot of foliage, and past lots of benches where you can sit and contemplate the creek for a moment or feed the waterbirds.
Close to the path are a variety of amenities, including picnic shelters, a skate park, fishing spots, disc golf course, outdoor grills, gardens, restrooms, play equipment and RV dumping stations.
3. Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area
Kuna is on the northern fringe of an immense protected area, encompassing 485,000 acres along the canyon of the Snake River and its eastern hinterland.
This is a land of sagebrush and volcanic remnants, with magnificent vantage points on the rim of the canyon.
The conservation area supports one of the largest concentrations of birds of prey on the planet, counting more than 20 species, including the highest density of breeding prairie falcons (150-200 pairs) in the world.
The time to visit for unforgettable bird watching experiences is March to late-June, when you’ll see eagles in flight (around March), raptors feeding their chicks (usually May) and then fledging of the young at the start of June.
4. Indian Creek Winery
Kuna’s proximity to the Snake River puts it on the east flank of a booming region, the largest in Idaho.
The Snake River Valley earned AVA designation as recently as 2007, but has close to 50 vineyards, with 2,000+ acres of vines and 20+ wineries welcoming visitors.
From Kuna you could pick up the Sunny Slope Wine Trail, now counting 17 establishments in Kuna and the neighboring city of Caldwell to the west.
The trail’s closest stop is just three miles from downtown Kuna, at Indian Creek Winery. Founded by trailblazers in the early 80s, the business is in its second generation, producing acid-driven wines that pair perfectly with food.
Some of the picks are the Pinot Noir, White Pinot, Viognier, Mountain Syringa (dry white blend) and Star Garnet (red blend), and you can order flight boards and side-by-side tastings.
In summer you can unwind in the winery’s gardens, growing hundreds of dahlias and brimming with butterflies.
5. Swan Falls Dam and Park
On the Snake River, some 20 miles south of Kuna, is a place that mixes natural beauty with compelling human history.
Swan Falls Dam is the oldest hydroelectric dam on the Snake River, constructed in 1901 to power local mines.
The site continues to be operated by the Idaho Power Company, which built a new plant in the 1990s. Visitors can come to the day-use park, look around the old plant and browse a museum in the historic power house.
You can also explore the magnificent canyon on trails, looking out for birds of prey like eagles, osprey and owls, and settle down by the riverbank for some fishing (with a license). Smallmouth bass are especially plentiful in the calmer waters close to the banks.
6. Celebration Park
Idaho’s first and only archeological park can be found by the Snake River about 20 miles south of Kuna. Here petroglyphs have been carved into the basalt boulders by the river and are presented in situ.
These carvings date back as far as 12,000 years, and while most are the work of Paiute and Shoshone Native Americans, European Americans also made their mark on this landscape more than a century ago.
You can traverse the site on interpretive trails, and cross the Snake River at the Guffey Railroad Bridge, built for mining transport in 1897 to transport gold and silver ore from the Owyhee Mountains, and now converted into a footbridge.
7. Falcon Crest Golf Course
There’s 27 holes of world-class golf at this fine course, rated as one of the five best in the State of Idaho.
Falcon Crest is little more than ten minutes east of downtown Kuna, with distant views of the Boise and Owyhee Mountains to the north and south.
The big challenge is the Falcon Crest Championship Course, an 18-hole par-72 adapting to the terrain and laced with sand traps and water hazards to keep you on your toes.
Additionally there are two nine-hole courses, the Freedom Course, where seasoned golfers can work on their approach play, and the Robin Hood Course, which is open to beginners and promises a lot of fun for families.
Falcon Crest also features the Treasure Valley’s premier practice facility, with a two-sided driving range, along with an enormous putting green, chipping green and bunker.
8. Dedication Point Overlook
The best spot for viewing raptors in the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area is Dedication Point, perched on the rim of the river’s deep canyon.
A number of factors combine to make this such a fruitful place to spot wildlife, from the thermal updrafts to the abundance of prey for the falcons and golden eagles that nest in the cliff face.
Passerine birds often spotted from this vantage point include Say’s phoebes, white-throated swifts, cliff swallows and rock and canyon wrens.
Interpretive signs will help you identify species, and there’s a covered cabana for education programs. Wildlife watching aside, Dedication Point is a magnificent location with jaw-dropping views 400 feet above the river.
9. Bernie Fisher Park
A cherished green space in the middle of town, this park borders the Indian Creek Greenbelt and has a variety of amenities for an affordable outing without leaving Kuna.
The splash pad is always popular in the summer months, and you’ll also find playground equipment, a bandshell and gazebo, picnic tables and a charcoal BBQ grill.
On the first full weekend in August, Bernie Fisher Park is one of the main venues for Kuna Days, normally bringing fireworks, old-time amusements, a giant water fight with the Kuna Fire Department and a parade along Main Street.
10. Vizcaya Winery
Back out in the Snake River Valley AVA, four miles northwest of Kuna, this winery crafts a selection of reds and whites with grapes grown at estate vineyards.
Vizcaya started out producing grapes for other winemakers in the 2000s, but over the last decade has started making its own wine, and this can be sampled at a charming tasting room close to Kuna.
You can try a lineup of varietal wines, including Tempranillo, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Mourvedre, Albariño, Pinot Gris, as well as a red blend (Windy ridge red) and a white blend (Elurra).
11. Downtown Kuna
Along with the Indian Creek Greenway, Kuna has put a lot of effort into sprucing up its downtown area.
The focus of this project is West Main Street, just east of Kuna’s water tower, where there’s a small concentration of historic buildings that have been standing for more than a century.
To encourage foot traffic and business, the city has repaved and widened the sidewalks and planted trees footed by little flowerbeds.
The old-time street lamps hang “Downtown Kuna” banners and you’ll come across a small but growing lineup of bars, cafes and restaurants.
12. Initial Point
A natural sight as well as a key piece of Idaho history, Initial Point was chosen in 1867 as the starting point for all land surveys in Idaho.
This volcanic remnant, climbing 350-feet over the landscape, was chosen because of its prominence, and because it was far enough west to align with the length of Idaho’s panhandle, right the way up to the border with Canada.
The summit has steps and a viewing platform, installed in the 1960s, and embedded in concrete is a survey marker from 2008.
As for this volcanic formation, it is thought to date back 1.3 million years, when it spewed lava that altered the course of the Snake River.
13. Kuna Butte
Not far north of Initial Point in the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey Reserve is another imposing volcanic formation, rising more than 370 feet over the surrounding landscape.
Resembling a shield volcano for its large footprint and shallow slopes, Kuna Butte grants satisfying views from its highest point.
This can be accessed with little trouble as the terrain is popular with people using off-road motorcyclists and ATVs on the weekends, leaving clearly defined tracks to follow.
And if you happen to have a mountain bike, these tracks make for some great riding. As yet, Kuna Butte is undeveloped as a natural attraction, but it’s not hard to see the potential.
14. Roaring Springs Water Park
With such remoteness to the east, south and west of Kuna, it’s easy to forget that there’s a large and growing metropolitan area within touching distance to the north.
Among the shopping, cultural, sightseeing and recreation opportunities in the Treasure Valley are some superb family attractions.
One of these is the largest water park in the Northwest, no more than ten minutes by road north of Kuna.
Roaring Springs has a ton of water slides for all ages, with several firsts for the region, like Corkscrew Cavern, the Northwest’s first 360° looping waterslide.
There’s also no lack of slides and interactive play equipment for smaller children, at the expansive Bearfoot Bay.
Continue your day out at Wahooz Family Fun Zone, an activity center with everything from laser tag to go-karts, linked to the water park by an elevated walkway.
15. Western Heritage Historic Byway
If you have a couple of hours to spare you could hop in your vehicle for a tour of the imposing, geologically rich scenery south of Kuna.
The Western Heritage Historic Byway is a 47-mile driving route, trailing through massive expanses of sagebrush and along the rim of the Snake River Canyon, with spellbinding vistas of the Owyhee Mountains in the distance.
March to late-June you may catch sight of a bird of prey swooping overhead. Many of the spots on this list are on the itinerary, like Initial Point, Dedication Point, Swan Falls Dam and Celebration Park.