There is only one trailhead, so in and out is the way to backcountry trek it normally. This backcountry trek shouldn't take more than 7 hours, but of course some folks walk a bit slower and some a bit faster. There's not much difference in elevation along the hiking and backpacking trail which means the conditions are about the same from start to finish. This is a hiking trail that is quite long, so make sure you bring plenty of supplies. Being 8.2 miles long it's a mid length hike. This region does get very dry sometimes, so do check for current fire restrictions before you go if you plan to bring a stove or make a camp fire. The total elevation difference for Island Lake Trail is 1,361 feet which is an average number.