On July 3, 1936, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stood amidst the crowd in Big Meadows and officially dedicated Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
The Thematic Mapper on the Landsat satellite captured this view of the heart of Shenandoah National Park on October 10, 2010, at the height of the fall “leaf-peeping” season. The orange and brown swath across the image highlights the hilly backbone of the park, where leaves had turned to their fall colors. The 169-kilometer (105-mile) Skyline Drive that meanders across the crest of the ridge is often jammed with tourists in autumn.

The park includes more than 518 miles of hiking trails, including more than 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail. The highest peak is Hawksbill Mountain at 4,051 feet (1,235 m), but the most popular with hikers is Old Rag Mountain. A circuitous eight-mile (13 kilometer) trail leads to an exposed, rocky summit 3,291 feet (1,003 meters) above sea level. The 2,200 foot elevation change from base to summit, combined with several rock scrambles, make Old Rag not only the most popular but also the most dangerous hike.

Larger image