There is Google Now card which shows distance you went in the end of the month. But only in the end of the month and very, very inaccurate.
I played with different apps here. Apps which do not work without creating accounts were uninstalled immediately, some others I gave a try.
Finally, the only step counter on my nexus is Accupedo Pedometer.
It is not ideal, for instance sometimes I found it stopped. I do not know why, may be due low battery level or something else. It is over-featured for me a bit.
But if I'm going to an unusual walk and am interested how many steps I do - I start Accupedo.
PS: Definitely, background pedometer eats the battery, but I could not remember a day when accupedo was the one I blamed for now juice.