June 27-30, 2024 Join Academy scientists in the Sierra Nevada foothills to discover the rich biodiversity and fascinating ecosystems unique to this part of California. 

Enjoy the magic and beauty of the world-famous Central Sierra and South Lake Tahoe region while learning more about how the Academy is taking a deeper look at forest resilience in the face of fires and other threats. In collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station, the Academy is studying the Caples Creek watershed—and its birds—to determine how prescribed fires affect forest ecosystems and reduce the risk of high-intensity wildfires by capturing a multi-year picture of what these ecosystems look like before and after various types of fires. We will hike through areas that have burned at different levels, see the rebounding beauty of these forests, and visit the wonders of Caples Creek, such as the abundant mountain meadows and amazing birds and wildlife.

  • When: June 27-30, 2024 (3 nights)
  • Where: Kit Carson Lodge
  • Group: Max. 14 guests
  • Activity level: Moderate
  • Price: $1,350 - $2,150 (based on party size and accommodation type)

Please note, single occupancy rooms and hotel rooms are sold out. Only CABINS for two or more guests are remaining. Please email adventures@calacademy.org if you are interested in being added to the single occupancy or hotel waitlist. 


Save your spot!

Please register by emailing adventures@calacademy.org, or calling (415) 379-5415.


About Caples Creek

Explore the Academy's multi-year collaboration with the US Forest Service on the Caples Creek watershed's response to both prescribed burns and wildfires. 

Image of Jack Dumbacher

Meet the experts: Jack Dumbacher, PhD

Curator of Ornithology and Mammalogy
Dumbacher is a molecular ecologist focused on the taxonomy and conservation genetics of birds and mammals, with recent work on African elephant shrews, birds of the Galapagos, and owls in the western USA. He is also interested in developing ways to use biodiversity data to measure the health and resilience of natural ecosystems and to use those tools to measure how forests in the Central Sierra Nevada respond to disturbance. The Caples Creek Project is a multi-institutional project where those tools are being field-tested to monitor the resilience of forests to disturbances such as prescribed fire and wildlife.

Image of Durrell Kapan

Meet the experts: Durrell Kapan

Senior Research Fellow, Entomology and Center for Comparative Genomics
Kapan is a biodiversity scientist studying the evolutionary ecology of insects and vertebrates. His lab focuses on collaborative community-driven projects including conservation genomics and historical ecology of extinct Xerces blue butterflies and their closest relatives in collaboration with academy genomics and collection staff, local NGOs, and the Presidio Trust. Kapan also works on the resilience of forest birds and wildlife communities, a collaboration between Ornithology, Mammalogy & Paleontology, and the U.S. Forest Service with support from the California Wildlife Conservation Board.

Image of Kirkwood Lake


  • June 27: Arrive at Kit Carson Lodge, dinner with your group at the Kit Carson restaurant.
  • June 28 - 29: These days will be spent:
    • Enjoying lodging and activities at the Kit Carson Lodge, conveniently located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains next to Silver Lake
    • Visiting California Academy of Sciences and U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest (PSW) research areas, where the team is investigating this forested Northern California watershed—and its birds—to determine how controlled fires may contribute to healthier forest ecosystems and reduce the risk of high intensity wildfires.
    • Embarking on group hikes through the land affected by the Caples Creek Fire (2019) and the Caldor Fire (2021).
    • Participating in fireside chats with California Academy of Sciences hosts, Jack Dumbacher and Durrell Kapan.
  • June 30: Breakfast with the group, then depart Kit Carson Lodge.
Payment Information
  • Pricing per person
    • HOTEL (hotel rooms sold out)
      • $1,350 (double occupancy)
      • $1,850 (single occupancy)
      • ($650 third occupant add-on)
    • CABIN
      • $1,550 (per person/double occupancy)
      • $2,150 (single occupancy)
      • ($550 third occupant add-on)
  • Payment Schedule:
    • Deposit: $500 due by Feb 1, 2024
    • Last day to get a full refund of your deposit: Feb 1, 2024
    • Last day to get a 50% refund of your full payment: April 1, 2024
    • Remaining payment: due by May 1, 2024
    • Any requests for refunds after
What’s included

The price of this trip includes:

  • Three nights of lodging
  • All meals per day (Thursday dinner - Sunday breakfast)
  • Guided hikes

The price of this trip does not include:

  • Airfare / travel expenses
  • Non-complementary lodging activities (boat rentals, horseback rides, etc.)
  • Hiking equipment