Sierra Zacks grew up along the entrance road to Joshua Tree National Park, where the Mojave and Colorado deserts meet in southeastern California. She spent her early years hiking, rock climbing and horseback riding in the park and elsewhere in the western U.S. Her family has a long connection with California's highest mountains—reflected even in Sierra's name—and most of her formative years involved exploring the Sierra Nevada. In high school, she participated in a 30-day expedition through Sequoia and King's Canyon national parks. It was then that knew she had found a deep and abiding love of natural places. Sierra has since graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz with a degree in Ecology and Botany. She worked as a guide for the university's Adventure Outings department, leading climbing, backpacking and river trips. Her ecology background came into play as she worked closely with restoration teams and assisted with documentation and research on new land assets to the University of California system. She has worked on other ecology and restoration projects in the U.S. since. More recently, she spent six months in Patagonia, learning and living the ecology of the southernmost region of South America. But Sierra's true love is the American West. Past summers have found her back in the High Sierra leading wilderness treks. And now, in her role as an Expedition Leader with Natural Habitat Adventures, she has found another capacity in which to combine her passion for the outdoors with her love of science and ecology, guiding trips in the U.S. national parks. She is overjoyed to share the large wild lands of the United States with fellow nature-lovers. In her free time, Sierra is usually found rock climbing, examining plants or gazing overhead looking for birds.
Praise from Nat Hab travelers:
"Sierra went above and beyond. She was extremely knowledgeable. She also had a great personality, extreme patience and would assist the photographers in getting the shots they wanted by making quick stops here and there. We loved her!"
"Sierra and Mike are incredibly well versed in geology and zoology. Sierra's botany knowledge, in particular, was boggling. These two are an incredible team. I felt so lucky."
"Sierra is an exceptional guide. I have never seen someone so accomplished in so many areas of her life! She was very professional and was always working to make the trip successful."
B. Van Rooyan
"Both Sierra and Jean are the hardest working, most knowledgeable guides we have had on any expedition. They took care of every single little detail, making our trip the best we have ever taken. They did it all with a very pleasant and caring demeanor. The breadth and depth of their knowledge about ecology, biology, geography, geology, etc. were astounding. They went way above and beyond to make this trip exceptional!"
"Sierra was very knowledgeable about all the animals, the region and the history of the area. She was very accommodating to our every need."