One of the highlights in West Glacier is the Travel Alberta Visitor Information Centre. We stopped there in May 2015 and asked for advice about visiting Waterton Lakes, Banff and Jasper national parks. A very friendly woman there spent about 20 minutes marking routes with a marker pen on maps of Alberta. Thanks to her advice, we made the excellent decision to extend our road trip and visit all three of these parks in Canada.
The starting point for our drive north was Browning, Montana, and our first destination in Canada was Waterton Lakes a distance of about 74 miles (119 km).
The St Mary Visitor Center, is situated at the east end of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, along the route to Waterton, and was a most enjoyable stop. In May, we took Hwy 89, and in September we drove both Hwy 89 and Hwy 464. The drive along Hwy 89 is closer to the mountains, whereas Hwy 464 runs along the prairie—both are a lot of fun to drive, and provide great views of the mountains.
In late September, we turned left off Hwy 89 a few miles north of Babb, and drove up to Many Glacier Hotel. Along the way, the brilliant yellow leaves of the aspen trees were delightful.
The Many Glacier Hotel was closed for the season, but the mountain views were stunningly beautiful.
Chief Mountain, an imposing block of Precambrian Belt rock that rises near the Canadian border, to the west of Hwy 17, is also visible from southern Alberta.* The mountain's appearance changed depending on viewpoint and atmospheric condition.
Traveling to Waterton Lakes from the US requires crossing the Canadian border, and there are two nearby border crossings to choose from: one at the Port of Chief Mountain, and the other at the Port of Piegan. In May, we crossed at Chief Mountain, and in September, we crossed at Piegan, as Chief Mountain was closed for the season. We found the Chief Mountain crossing on Hwy 17 to be preferable, as the highway is closer to Chief Mountain, and is a more direct route to Waterton Lakes.
*See Roadside Geology of Montana, David Alt and Donald W. Hyndman, pp 69-70.