Bacon was born in Raleigh, North Carolina on July 25, 1956. His father, Zachary Bacon Jr., founded real estate company Bacon & Co. and later led Prudential Financial’s and Merrill Lynch’s real estate efforts in North Carolina.
Bacon graduated from Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia. He attended Middlebury College in Vermont where he received his BA in American literature, graduating in 1979. Bacon met Walter Frank while he was working on a fishing boat on Long Island. He was given a job clerking at the specialist firm Walter N. Frank & Co during the summers of his college years. He subsequently received his MBA degree in finance at Columbia Business School in 1981.
While at Columbia, Bacon traded commodities using a low interest loan he had received. During the first three semesters, he lost money and was forced to borrow money from his father to pay for necessities. He turned a profit during his fourth semester.
After receiving his MBA, Bacon joined the sales and trading program at Bankers Trust. Later he left the firm and returned to Walter N. Frank & Co. where he traded currencies. Bacon then got a job on the floor of the New York Cotton Exchange, working as a "runner". Bacon later worked as a broker and trader of financial futures at Shearson Lehman Brothers and eventually became the senior vice president for their futures trading division.
In 1987 Bacon founded Remington Trading Partners and his market insights allowed him to profit during the market crash and subsequent rebound. In 1989, Bacon used his middle name in founding Moore Capital Management LLC and in 1990 created Moore Global Investments using the $25,000 he inherited from his family.
In 2006, Forbes named Bacon as the 746th richest person in the world, and in 2011 he was listed as the 736th richest man. In 2010, the Denver Post reported that his $1.6 billion ranked him as the 238th richest American. In March 2010 Forbes Magazine estimated Bacon's net worth to be $1.5 billion and the 655th richest person in the world.
In December 2013, he purchased Taos Ski Valley from the Blake family, who had owned it since 1954.
In 1986 Bacon married Cynthia Pigott, a former Newsweek magazine staff member whom he later divorced in 2002. They had four children together. In 2007, he married Gabrielle Sacconaghi in Manhattan. In November 2007, Bacon purchased the Trinchera Ranch in Costilla County, Colorado from the Forbes family. The 171,400-acre (694 km2) property sold for $175 million. In 2010, Bacon purchased the Orton Plantation in North Carolina which was built by his ancestor, Roger Moore, son of James Moore, in 1735.
In May 2011, the High Court in London granted Bacon a court order to obtain information from the Wikimedia Foundation, The Denver Post, and WordPress as to the identities of internet users alleged to have defamed him. Legal experts suggested compliance with the orders was unlikely, given the US tradition of freedom of speech, and the fact that US courts typically required "actual evidence or sufficient allegations of libel" before granting similar orders.
Bacon has been involved in litigation with Peter Nygard, founder of Nygard International, a clothing manufacturer. He contends in multiple lawsuits that Nygard was harming the environment around Clifton Bay, Bahamas, where both have compounds in Lyford Cay. Bacon also alleges Nygard has engaged in a smear campaign against him. Nygard denies the allegations and contends that Bacon is seeking to improperly acquire Nygard's property and hurt his reputation. Suits have been filed in the Bahamas and New York.
Bacon contributed £250,000 to Britain's Conservative Party. Bacon also served as a fundraiser for Mitt Romney. In 2015, Bacon donated $1 million to a Super PAC supporting the presidential candidacy of Jeb Bush.
In 1991, Bacon was 20th on the list of Financial World's Top 100 Wall Street Earners list.
In 1992, Bacon created The Moore Charitable Foundation (MCF) to provide financial support to nonprofit organizations that work to preserve and protect wildlife habitat and improve water systems. Bacon has donated more than one million dollars to the environmental non-profit organization Riverkeeper.
In June 2012, United States Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and United States Fish and Wildlife Service Director Daniel M. Ashe announced Bacon intends to donate a conservation easement totaling approximately 90,000 acres in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains bordering the San Luis Valley in Colorado. This easement will provide the foundation for the proposed new Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area.
Bacon owns the Trinchera Blanca Ranch located in the San Luis Valley. The Trinchera section of the ranch is currently protected by an easement administered by Colorado Open Lands. The new conservation easement Bacon intends to donate is to protect Blanca – thus protecting all 172,000 acres of land.
In addition to his work in Colorado, Bacon has helped preserve and protect environmentally sensitive land in New York, North Carolina, and the Bahamas. His key conservation projects include:Robins Island, Long Island, New York: After purchasing the "Jewel of the Peconic" in 1993, Bacon secured the permanent protection of the land through a conservation easement and set about restoring a natural habitat that had been deteriorating for 300 years.
Cow Neck Farm, Long Island, New York: Bacon’s Cow Neck Preserve, LLC purchased the farm in 1998 and donated a 540-acre conservation easement to the Peconic Land Trust, thus preventing development and ensuring the protection of the area’s habitat.
Lyford Cay, Bahamas: Bacon is involved with the environmental restoration of Lyford Cay.
In 2008, he was inducted into Institutional Investors Alpha's Hedge Fund Manager Hall of Fame along with David Swensen, Seth Klarman, Steven Cohen, Kenneth Griffin, Paul Tudor Jones, George Soros, Michael Steinhardt, Jack Nash, James Simmons, Alfred Jones, Leon Levy, Julian Roberston, and Bruce Kovner.
He is the 2013 recipient of the Audubon Medal, given in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of conservation and environmental protection.