My wife and I will be visiting the Black Hills area in late August (Aug, 25 - Sep, 1) for the first time. We are mid-50's and in reasonably good shape. We love hiking, wildlife and history. We are coming from Omaha, and will be entering the Black Hills from the south via Chadron, NE. We would prefer to move around every day or two to have unique experiences each day. I'd appreciate it if you would critique our tentative itinerary and offer any suggestions as to attractions, food, hotels, etc. No reservations have been made yet, so we're wide open. Our 7 night itinerary looks something like this:
Day 1 - All travel, Omaha to Chadron
Day 2 - Chadron State Park, Nebraska National Forest, overnight in Chadron
Day 3 - Fort Robinson State Park, possibly Toadstool on the way out, and end up somewhere in southern half of Black Hills, perhaps Custer? Keystone?. Should we try to catch Wind Cave on the way through? Mammoth site?
Day 4 - Explore Custer State Park - wildlife loop, hopefully some hiking trails (which ones?), see Mt. Rushmore. End up in Hill City for the night. Hopefully dinner at Alpine Inn and visit Prairie Berry Winery.
Day 6 - Head up to Spearfish Canyon, Deadwood, Lead. I'm the history buff and would love to spend time in Deadwood and spend the night. Wife is more inclined to return to Rapid and do some shopping. Which would you do?
Day 7 - Hit The Badlands on the way out. Do some hiking along the way. May consider Wall Drug or Minuteman Missile Site, but we need to cover some ground on the way home. Where would you stay on the way home that is interesting/scenic? Chamberlain?
Day 8 - Head home, hopefully via a scenic route
Did we miss any "don't miss" things to do? We're not B&B people, but would prefer historic accommodations in the smaller towns.
Thanks, we appreciate all of the great advice on the forum and look forward to your feedback!