The Wasatch Range forms an impressive backdrop to the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, and it is a frequent destination for hikers, backpackers, and skiers. The range is considered to be the westernmost part of the Rocky Mountains, and rises to elevations of approximately 3,600 meters (12,000 feet) above sea level. The abundance of streams and building materials (timber and stone) encouraged the earliest Mormon settlers to establish themselves along the western front of the Wasatch Range. Development of the region still occurs mainly along the western mountain front.
The cooling days of autumn find the Wasatch Range clothed in the leaves of deciduous trees turning color. This astronaut photograph, taken at the end of September, captures red- (maple trees) and gold-mantled (aspen trees) hill slopes along the western mountain front to the south of Salt Lake City. Other common tree species at these elevations include pine, fir, spruce, willow, birch, and oak. A portion of Draper City is visible in the left half of the image. The elevation of Lone Peak, visible at upper right, is approximately 3,410 meters (11,253 feet).
Astronaut photograph ISS011-E-13889 was acquired September 30, 2005, with a Kodak 760C digital camera fitted with an 800 mm lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and the Image Science & Analysis Group, Johnson Space Center. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.