This map area occupies the southern and western flanks of Mount Shasta from tree line, at about 8000 feet elevation, down to about 5500 feet elevation. It is a complex landscape of volcanic cones (such as Gray Butte and Green Butte), alluvial flats (such as Sand Flat and Panther Meadow), and steep dissected side slopes with rock outcrops (such as Everitt Memorial Vista).
The soils are weathered from lava flows and MUDFLOWS. Red fir and white fir dominate the forest with some sugar pine, incense cedar and mountain hemlock. Understory shrubs are pine mat manzanita and current bush. Mountain hemlock stands are also found in drainages and around wet meadows.
The most prominent physical features are Sand Flat and Panther Meadow, a spiritual focal point on the mountain. Lower Panther Meadow is one of the relatively few sub-alpine wet meadows on found on Mount Shasta. Another is Squaw Valley Creek Meadow, about two miles to the east. Mountain heather covers the meadow. The margins of these meadows are forested with stands of mountain hemlock. The sub-alpine slopes around Sand Flat are forested with old growth Shasta red fir with pinemat manzanita understory.