Stabilizing piles are commonly used to improve slope stability. The load that a pile should sustain and the associated slip surface under a prescribed factor of safety are two critical design parameters in practice. Based on the kinematically admissible failure mechanism, a limit analysis approach is introduced, which considers two potential slip surfaces that individually lie in the upslope and downslope of the piles. The explicit formulas for the upslope thrust force and downslope resistance on a pile are derived, which enables the calculation of the maximum load on a pile and the corresponding critical slip surfaces using a computer program. The maximum load and critical slip surfaces under a design factor of safety are mainly affected by soil properties and five other parameters: location of the pile row, dip angle of the slope face, action point and dip angle of the force, and improvement coefficient of the slope stability. The relevant quantitative calculation can be performed using the proposed method. Moreover, the possible failure with the upslope soil surpassing the pile top under a specified design factor of safety is significantly illustrated in the paper, which is helpful in the rational determination of the location of the pile row.