Distance: 12 miles from Hermits Rest  to Pipe Creek Vista, but easily hiked in shorter sections
Duration: 20–30 minutes per mile
Elevation gain: 480 feet
Trailhead: This trail can be accessed at South Rim overlooks from Pipe Creek Vista west to Hermits Rest.
Most people will choose to hike the Rim Trail in shorter sections. The trail is paved along Grand Canyon Village . This section of the Rim Trail can be crowded in places, but it is still quite pleasant, especially if you’re a history or architecture buff. The Trail of Time  exhibits along the Rim Trail between Verkamp’s and the Yavapai Observation Station are a highlight for those who want to learn more about the canyon’s geology.
You’ll find great views of the village from the west at the Trailview Overlooks , and from the east en route to Yavapai Point. You can make nearby forays through the ponderosa pine forest to Mather Amphitheater or Shrine of the Ages  for ranger programs, while away an hour in the Pioneer Cemetery, or visit Yavapai Observation Station .
If it’s solitude you’re seeking, strike out from one of the overlooks farther west along the rim. From March through November you can ride the Hermit Road shuttle  to an overlook and hike the Rim Trail to another overlook, where you can catch the shuttle again. (Keep in mind the shuttle stops are limited on the return route.)
The trail winds in and out of piñon-juniper woodland along the cliff edges, offering spectacular canyon views. An especially scenic four-mile section lies between the Abyss  and Hermits Rest . Hermit Road is farther from the trail here, so the sound of road traffic is buffered, another plus. The paved multiuse Greenway Trail joins the Rim Trail for its final three miles.
Even on the busier sections of the Rim Trail, wildlife sightings are common. Oblivious to midsummer heat, eastern fence lizards dart over rocky outcrops. Mule deer wander along trails and through the forest, especially in the morning and evening.
The ponderosa pines near the village are home to tassel-eared Abert’s squirrels (cousins of the North Rim’s Kaibab squirrels), who depend on the tall trees for food and shelter. Their ruder relatives, rock squirrels, may try to bully you for food, don’t give in. And here and there, the heady scent of cliffrose perfumes your path.