I hiked this out and back on a Saturday afternoon in early March. Much of the snow had melted along the edge of the Rim, but plenty of deep drifts remained. I connected this hike with one to Woods Canyon Lake on the Meadow Trail. Because the Rim Road was still closed for the winter, I skipped the first mile or so of the Rim Lakes Vista Trail and instead just hiked down the road. In retrospect, this was a bad idea because of the numerous and very deep snow drifts. Unfortunately, there was too much pavement for snowshoes, and there was too much snow for hiking boots. This made this part of the trip a bit of an extra chore.
I got a late start to my day and didn't start hiking until 1pm. It was very windy and subsequently cooler than I was expecting. I headed out wearing a ski hat and fleece gloves. The wind died down a couple of hours later and made it much more pleasant and allowed me to drop a layer of clothing.
Via my return trip, learned that the actual trail, while a bit longer in distance than the road, was a much easier hike, because for some reason there was no snow on it to slow me down. I don't know if the exposure helped the immediate edge of the rim melt snow faster, but I learned not just from the road, but also from the Meadow Trail that the amount of snow increased greatly after getting away from the rim just a few hundred yards.
For being such a windy and chilly day, I was surprised that visibility wasn't better than it was. But it was nonetheless a great day to hike along this amazing spot ... and besides two other cars at the trailhead, I didn't see another person all day long!
It took me 1:15 minutes to hike the 3.0 miles to the Woods Canyon Vista where I joined the Meadow Trail. On my return, I avoided the Rim Road and stuck to the trail. It took me 1:30 to get back to the parking lot where I was happy to have just enough time to drive back to the valley before dark.