Picturesque Kilauea Military Camp (KMC) celebrated 100 years in operation, providing an abundance of MWR programs, guest facilities, and support for all of America’s military members, their families, and many other categories of authorized patrons to enjoy.
Located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Kilauea Military Camp (KMC) sits on fifty-two acres. While many historic touches have been retained, the camp itself has gone through many renovations. KMC offers 90 guest cottages and apartments with one, two, or three bedrooms, and a 110-bed dormitory. Selected guest units include a jetted tub and/or kitchen. Nightly rates are based on rank and by unit type. Guest cottages and apartments are available to authorized military patrons, family members and their sponsored guests. KMC is also able to extend the use of their 110-bed dormitory to educational and non-profit organizations. “It’s what (is) not different…what hasn’t changed is the uniqueness of KMC,” says retired Army Colonel Randy Hart, Director of KMC.
From that modest beginning, KMC has grown and evolved into a beautiful getaway resort that continues to support all branches of the military as well as Guard and Reserve components.
Historical visits to the Island of Hawaii by U.S. navy ships and visits to the volcano area by Army and Navy units occurred during the 1840’s, 1890’s and early 1900’s. Local leaders turned this interest into the creation of a rest camp for military personnel. By 1916, a rest camp had been constructed on or near the site where Kilauea Military Camp now stands.
Originally conceived by a group of enterprising Hilo businessmen as a business venture and rest camp, KMC opened its doors to soldiers on November 17, 1916. First to arrive was a group of Soldiers from Company A, Second Infantry of the U.S. Army. Initially there were three buildings erected on the camp for dining, recreation and an officers building. Officers and enlisted Soldiers were expected to provide their own sleeping tents. Goat hunting, drill and exploration of the surrounding area were some of the activities engaged in by the unit while at the camp.
In the 1940’s, KMC served as both a Japanese internment camp at the beginning of World War II, and as a prisoner-of-war camp. Numerous dignitaries have visited KMC including General Dwight D. Eisenhower who was the Army Chief of Staff in 1946 and later became President of the United States in 1953.
KMC opened their doors to all military branches in 1949 and since that time has served thousands of Soldiers, family members, and sponsored guests.
Today KMC facilities include a Bowling Center and Snack Bar, a Cafeteria and Cocktail Lounge, Banquet Facilities, a General Store, Recreation Lodge with many arcade games, pool tables, and table tennis, Basketball and Tennis Courts, and a fitness center.
Some of the buildings and cottages are adorned with stain glass windows. It started out with one cottage that was being renovated in the mid 1980’s by local artist Beverly Jackson. “Building these windows was a labor of love, “Jackson wrote in a 1999 description of the project.
New lava flow!
The flow has spread beyond the base of the pali (cliff) of the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision; and is entering the ocean within the boundaries of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Bright incandescence is visible from the active lava flow field, and the lava flow does not pose a threat to any residential community.
To maintain public safety and to preserve the emergency road or Highway 130, the County of Hawai‘i opened the emergency road to lava viewing since Thursday, June 30, 2016. Vehicular traffic on the emergency road is limited to local residents and emergency vehicles, and is being monitored by security guards posted along the viewing area.
While volcanic phenomena are captivating, please be aware of hidden hazards and be prepared: Viewing area hours are from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily, with the last car allowed to park at 8:30 p.m. It is about 8.5 total miles round-trip from end of the pavement on Highway 130 to the lava flow and back. The flow can be seen starting from the parking lot all along the hike.
Eruptions continue at Kilauea Volcano’s summit and East Rift Zone. From the national park, the easiest vantage point to view the current eruptive activity is from a distance (about 4 or 5 miles away) at the end of Chain of Craters Road past Holei Sea Arch. Park rangers have set up a Coastal Ranger Station (CRS) at the end of Chain of Craters Rd with eruption update, hiking and safety tip exhibits, and a monitor that plays a four-minute lava safety video. Visitors are strongly urged to stop and talk with rangers and review all signage and watch the video at the CRS. The CRS is staffed daily and in the evening during peak visitation hours. A public spotting scope is also available to view the eruptive activity in the distance, as staffing allows. The park is open 24 hours a day.