At 8,751 feet, Guadalupe Peak is the highest natural point in the state. Considered the “top of Texas,” it’s certainly bucket list–worthy, if you don’t mind trekking through potential hurricane-force winds on the four-mile climb 3,000 vertical feet upward. The view from the summit, which includes glimpses of the second- and third-highest points (Bush Mountain and Shumard Peak) as well as a seemingly boundless swath of the state, will more than offset the costs. But there are a few less-strenuous ways to get high.

You’ll hardly risk overexertion on your ascent of El Paso’s Ranger Peak, for example. When you arrive at the Wyler Aerial Tramway parking area, within Franklin Mountains State Park, you’ll have already achieved an elevation of 4,692 feet. From there, you’ll be whisked up another 940 feet via a Velveeta-colored, Swiss-made gondola as a guide refocuses your attention from the little-wider-than-a-quarter cables from which you’re dangling to the vast array of cacti and critters and rock formations below. Four minutes later, step out onto the viewing deck, where you’ll be able to spy the Rio Grande River, the state of New Mexico, and the Samalayuca Sand Dunes in Mexico. You’ll also be able to boast that you’ve “scaled” the southernmost tip of the Rockies—no sweat necessary. 1700 McKinley Ave, 915-566-6622, tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/wyler-aerial-tramway

Reunion Tower, Dallas

The ball-topped landmark that rises fifty stories on the edge of downtown Dallas has been likened to a giant microphone, a lollipop, and a “glitzy dandelion puff of lights.” Though Reunion Tower has been illuminating the skyline since 1978, its GeO-Deck was recently renovated and equipped with zoom cameras, powerful telescopes, and touch screens. Plus, you can lunch at Cloud Nine or have dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s rotating Five-Sixty restaurant. 300 Reunion Blvd, 214-712-7040, reuniontower.com


Since 1939, a 567-foot concrete-and-limestone column has loomed over the battlefield where Sam Houston’s Texian army won Texas its independence. Crowned with a nine-point star, it’s the tallest war memorial in the world. From the 489-foot-high observation floor, you can also gaze upon the 8.4-acre reflecting pool, Buffalo Bayou, and the battleship Texas, anchored in the Houston Ship Channel. 1 Monument Cir, 281-479-2421, sanjacinto-museum.org


Aside from the nearby mountains, there aren’t a lot of high points in this West Texas town. But one panoramic outlook, open during weekday business hours, requires only an easy hike up five flights of stairs: the cupola atop the peachy-pink courthouse on Marfa’s main drag. After ascending the last, narrowest set of steps, you’ll reach a tiny room with tall windows and a beautiful vista of the buildings below and wide-open spaces beyond. 301 Highland


Built for the World’s Fair in 1968, this 750-foot concrete landmark is the second-tallest observation tower in the country. A ninety-second ride in one of its three exterior elevators will zip you up to the glass “top house,” where you can eat prime rib in the rotating Chart House restaurant or take a 360-degree stroll along the indoor-outdoor deck and look northward to spot that other popular tourist attraction. 739 E. Cesar Chavez Blvd, 210-223-3101, toweroftheamericas.com