Kuna Cave

Useful Information

Location: 9 km south of Kuna, Idaho. Follow Swan Falls Road south for 5.7 km, turn right on Kuna Cave Road, after 3.2 km turn left on Black Cat road. The last 500 m are on an unmaintained dirt road.
Open: No restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyPrimary cave SpeleologyLava Cave Speleologylava tube
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=500 m, T=13 °C.
Guided tours:  
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: No, entered by iron ladder.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Kuna Cave, sometimes also called Kuna Caves, is a lava tube located south of Kuna Butte, some 7 km south of Kuna. The entrance is a rather small hole in the ground, where the ceiling of the cave collapsed. The cave is entered through a caged iron ladder going down some 15 m. Once the floor is reached, the cave is almost horizontal. The tube runs about 400 m to the north and about 100 m to the south.

According to local lore, the cave was once much bigger and had additional branches. One of the branches ran to Snake River, which is located about 13 km to the south. The reason why those huge parts of the cave are inaccessible now is the Army Corps of Engineers, which detonated explosives inside the cave.

This legend is rather typical, wildly exaggerated lengths and and historic references with some truth. The Army Corps of Engineers built numerous roads, dams and other infrastructure during the first half of the 20th century. We guess the true core of this story are some additional branches of the cave which collapsed long ago by natural causes. By the way, Corps of Engineers built the caged steel ladder and installed a safety rail around the opening. Another legend about the cave fits the second most common cave legend type, the hidden treasure.

In the 1880 a bandit held up a stage and got away with a strongbox. This box contained USD 40,000 in gold coins, owned by a bank in Boise, which made the box rather heavy. The only way to transport the box was dragging it behind his horse, with his lariat tied to the box and his saddle. The result were marks in the ground and the posse of lawmen which followed him had no problem to find him. The marks ended at the entrance of Kuna Cave and inside they found the empty strongbox. When some men entered the cave to flush out the outlaw, he escaped through a second entrance, but he was seen and killed. But when the men searched the cave, they could not find any hint of the gold. He must have hidden it inside the cave, where it still lies.

The huge entrance chamber is obviously a popular party spot for local teenagers. The results are graffiti on the walls and the remains of parties, like empty bottles and coal from fires. The cave is on public property managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), who say it should be closed for conservation reasons. On the other hand the cave is an important part of the social life in the town. The high school team is called the Kuna Kavemen, the girls team Lady Kavemen, and the volleyball gym is called Kave. Many children are named with a K, like Erika, Kylie, or Kaitlyn. And there is of course a geocache inside the cave. We guess the BLM has a hard time to close the cave to the public.