Leisure, adventure, and religious tourism play a prominent role in Uttarakhand's economy, with the Corbett National Park and Tiger Reserve and the nearby hill-stations of Nainital, Mussoorie, Almora, Kausani, Bhimtal and Ranikhet being amongst the most frequented destinations of India. The state also contains numerous peaks of interest to mountaineers, although Nanda Devi, the highest and best-known of these, has been off-limits since 1982. Other national wonders include the Valley of Flowers, which along with Nanda Devi National Park, form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
To Uttarakhand, long called "abode of the gods" (Devbhumi), belong some of the holiest Hindu shrines, and for more than a thousand years, pilgrims have been visiting the region in the hopes of salvation and purification from sin. Gangotri and Yamunotri, the sources of both the Ganges and Yamuna fall in the upper reaches of the state and together with Badrinath (dedicated to Vishnu) and Kedarnath (dedicated to Shiva) form the Char Dham, one of Hinduism's most spiritual and auspicious pilgrimage circuits. Haridwar, meaning "Gateway to God" is a prime Hindu destination. Haridwar hosts the Kumbha Mela every twelve years, in which millions of pilgrims take part from all parts of the India and the world. Rishikesh near Haridwar is known as the preeminent yoga centre of India. The state has an abundance of temples and shrines, many dedicated to local deities or manifestations of Shiva and Durga, references to many of which can be found in Hindu scriptures and legends. The architecture of most of these temples is typical of the region and slightly different from other parts of India. The ancient temples at Jageshwar (a complex of 124 temples in a deodar woodland) are historically the most prominent for their distinct architectural features. Uttarakhand is, however, a place of pilgrimage not only for the Hindus. Hemkund nested in the Himalayas is a prime pilgrimage center for the Sikhs. Tibetan Buddhism has also made itself felt with the recent reconstruction of Mindroling Monastery and its Buddha Stupa, touted as the world's highest, southwest of Dehradun.
The state has always been a destination for mountaineering, hiking and rock climbing in India. A recent development in adventure tourism in the region has been white water rafting and other adventures sports. Eco tourism, agritourism and rural tourism have also found new grounds in many villages of the state.