The optimal way to go to French Gulch is by car. Be sure to bring chains.
Directions from Redding: Go west on CA 299 W until you reach it.
The town of French Gulch is small enough that you can get around by car.
Whiskeytown Lake is one of two major lakes within 50 miles of Redding, CA. It is smaller, so it is by far the least crowded. It is best to visit in the fall.
This place offers rangers to ask for help and information, and a gift shop. It shares a parking lot with the trailhead of the Shasta Divide Nature Trail. For visitor information, call (530) 246-1225.
The closest outdoor recreation areas are Whiskeytown Lake (see above), Whiskeytown Falls, and the Carr Powerhouse area.
Undiscovered until recently, these falls are odd in that they flow a bit at a more horizontal slope than most others. It is a strenuous hike there, but you'll be glad you did. If you can muster enough energy, there is also a trail at the Falls that takes you eventually to Shasta Bally.
Carr Powerhouse Area
Best known for its gold panning and nice picnicking areas, this goes from a creek and an old house to the Mill Creek Trail, the El Dorado Mine Loop Trail, and the Tower Gravesite trail. The latter has many fruit trees, and is the least strenuous. Along the creek in the summer, there are many monarch butterflies.
Shopping is not a major industry in French Gulch.