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Mario Kart 8 Shortcuts list for standard, retro, DLC courses and cups

Locations of every shortcut in Mario Kart 8.

Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe continues the series' tradition of having plenty of shortcuts peppered throughout its collection of courses.

To help you take advantage of them, here's our Mario Kart 8 shortcuts list for standard, retro, DLC courses and cupshow, so you can cut every last corner on all 48 courses and Cups.

If you need more help in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, consult our Mario Kart 8 guide, which also has handy tips and tricks that can increase your chances of winning.

On this page:

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Booster Course Pass Wave 6.Watch on YouTube

Mario Kart 8 shortcuts on standard cups and courses

Bone-Dry Dunes shortcuts

  • The first of this track's shortcuts is located between the pair of paths near the start. Use a speed boost to get onto this ramp nice and quickly.
  • You'll notice an opening to your left as you approach the final bend. If you've got something to boost your speed, head between the bones here.
Let's Play Hungover Mario Kart 8 - Mario Kart Switch Multiplayer GameplayWatch on YouTube

Bowser's Castle shortcuts

  • There's a massive turn just after your encounter with Bowser. Stick hard to the left of this turn, then skim off the small left-hand ledge as you exit. You should land on the speed ramp and cut out a little bit of the course. It's not easy to pull this one off, but it's worth mastering.

Cloudtop Cruise shortcuts

  • As you approach the finishing line of this course, you can use the massive leaves to your right to cut out the last corner altogether.

Dolphin Shoals shortcuts

  • As you approach the cave in the sea you'll see the path split a little. If you steer hard to the right as you enter it, you'll get up on a different ledge that boosts you faster towards the big slithering eel. Make sure you get a few stunt boosts off the eel's spine as you race along it!

Electrodrome shortcuts

  • Just before you reach the final turn, use a speed boost to cut directly through the dark part of the track, rather than taking the corner itself.
The Rainbow Road shortcut is far from obvious, but we'll show you where to find it.

Mario Circuit shortcuts

  • There are no known shortcuts for Mario Circuit, but it's very easy to drift into corners far too early here, so spend some time mastering this simple but satisfying track.

Mario Kart Stadium shortcuts

  • Look for a section of dirt just beyond the first split anti-gravity part of the track. You can use a mushroom to burst through this and cut out a little of the course.
  • After you've gone through the first anti-gravity section, there's a little ramp you can use to cut off the next corner.

Mount Wario shortcuts

  • When you enter the forest section, use a mushroom to cut in between the two paths and activate a secret glider ramp.

Rainbow Road shortcuts

  • Towards the end of this course is a gliding section that leads to two ramps, one higher than the other. Take the lower ramp, stay to the right of the boost obstacle and drive straight off the edge of the track. You'll find yourself on a downward straight that leads to the final massive turn.

Shy Guy Falls shortcuts

  • If you've got a speed-boosting power-up, you can cut off a large chunk of the very first corner of the course. Just make sure you perform a stunt boost as you cross the lip of the slightly raised earth.
  • If you've got a mushroom in your back pocket, you can land your glider onto the higher part of the cliff and burn through the grassy section.
  • Finally, you can use another speed-boosting item to cut off the final turn that's just before the finishing line.

Sunshine Airport shortcuts

  • You can use a speed-boosting item to cut off the left turn that appears just before the initial gliding section of the course.
  • Boost your way through the grassy patch and you can also eliminate the left-hand turn into the terminal.
  • As you approach the finishing line, think about darting directly through the luggage carousel to avoid the very last turn altogether.
You'll need a speed-boosting item to make the most of Sunshine Airport's biggest shortcuts

Sweet Sweet Canyon shortcuts

  • If you want to avoid the bulk of the last turn just before the big drop, simply use a mushroom to whizz through the spot between the chocolate doughnut and a Piranha Plant.
  • You can also use a mushroom to zip quickly across the chocolate-covered part of the anti-gravity section.

Toad Harbor shortcuts

  • Aim to get up onto the market tents shortly after entering the town section, as there's a speed ramp up here you can launch a stunt-boost from.
  • The left-hand side alley towards the end of the course might be considered a shortcut - thanks to its zippy speed strip - but avoid drifting into it from the main road, otherwise you risk a collision shortly afterwards.

Thwomp Ruins shortcuts

  • The first shortcut in Thwomp Ruins is located near the beginning of the track. Dart between the two clumps of rocks, then use a speed boost to race across the grass and launch off the ramp. This allows you to avoid one of the first two turns entirely.
  • Just before the second of this track's gliding sections is a wooden board. If you can make it safely onto this ramshackle ramp, you'll avoid the tricky turns just before the final gliding section.

Twisted Mansion shortcuts

  • Just after the split anti-gravity section is a patch of dirt. If you've got mushroom or a star to hand, jump onto this rough patch and blast your way through.

Water Park shortcuts

  • When you reach the carousel section at the end of this course, power up a mushroom to zip straight through the ride, rather than snaking around it.

Mario Kart 8 shortcuts on retro cups and courses

Cheep Cheep Beach shortcuts

  • Rather than navigating the thin and sandy S-bend located in the middle of this track, simply head into the light blue sea and cut out the awkward turn altogether. Just make sure you don't enter the darkest water or you'll have to be fished out.

DK Jungle shortcuts

  • Watch out for the ramp to your left as you approach the big bushy white trees. You can use a mushroom to speed over the grass, get onto the ramp, then pull off a massive stunt-boost.
  • Just after your glider lands, you can cut across three stretches of grass if you have the necessary speed-boosts.

Donut Plains shortcuts

  • You can use a mushroom boost to cut across the grass just before the wooden bridge. Once you've crossed it, you can boost again to cut out another corner and get on the second bridge.
  • There's a gap between the multi-coloured stacks of tyres at the final turn. Activate a mushroom and pile straight through this gap to get onto the final part of the course.

Dry Dry Desert shortcuts

  • As you complete laps in Dry Dry Desert you'll notice pillars tumbling to the ground. If you have a speed-boost equipped, you can use it to get across the rougher desert floor, then use these ramps to initiate stunt-boosts.

Grumble Volcano shortcuts

  • You can use your mushrooms to speed through a pair of dirt patches in the opening part of this track.
  • After passing the big volcano outside, jump over the red and white ramp and then veer to the left. Activate a mushroom to speed over the rocky patch, keeping the left-hand pipe on your right.
You'll make the most of the DK Jungle shortcuts in Mario Kart 8's Time Trial mode

Mario Circuit shortcuts

  • The first shortcut for this track appears right at the first corner. Use a mushroom to zip across the grass and hit the speed ramp early.
  • Look out for a blue ramp as you turn one of the final corners. If you can get a speed-boost across the grass, you can use this ramp to start gliding over the final section of the course.
  • There's also a booster in the pit lane that's adjacent to the finishing straight if you can reach it - it's tricky to dart into after the tight final corner though.

Moo Moo Meadows shortcuts

  • While there are no actual shortcuts to speak of in this track, you can use a speed-boosting item to dart across the muddy fields when the cattle start wandering around.

Melody Motorway shortcuts

  • If you've got a mushroom going spare, you can use it just before you reach the winding piano section to whizz across the patch of grass.
  • Just before the xylophone section you'll spot a ramp in a patch of grass. Activate a mushroom to get on the ramp, but be ready to make a tight right-hand drift as soon as you land you land.
  • After using the bouncing baddies to initiate a series of stunt boosts, look to your right where the fence ends. You can use the bouncing drum suspended in mid-air to cut out the next corner, then speed straight through the grass.

Piranha Plant Slide shortcuts

  • After your encounter with the big piranha plant, use the dirt patch on your left with a mushroom to cut out a seriously annoying sharp corner.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for a little steam vent further on in the track. You can use this to gain height and reach a speed-boosting ramp.
  • When you're out in the fresh air again, finish the gliding section and then look for a gap in the fence ahead that's obscured by a bush. Activate a mushroom, speed though this gap, then get ready to perform a sharp left-hand drift to get back on track.

Royal Raceway shortcuts

  • Look out for the ramp on your left as you approach the big bushy white trees. You can use a mushroom to speed over the grass, get to the ramp, and then pull off a massive stunt boost.
  • Just after your glider lands, you can cut across three stretches of grass if you have the necessary speed-boosts.
Sticking to the sides is certainly safer in Toad's Turnpike, but it's also much, much slower.

Sherbet Land shortcuts

  • There are a handful of snowy stretches with winding corners that you can zip right across if you have a mushroom going spare.
  • When you approach the second frozen lake, look for a pair of coins just to the left of a big structure made of ice cubes. If you have a speed-booster about you, this shortcut will let you take to the skies in a glider and cruise towards the finishing line.

Tick Tock Clock shortcuts

  • Head over the minute hand of the first floor clock you come to, then use the central platform to initiate a stunt-boost over to the other side. The second clock face offers a similar boosting opportunity.
  • Don't forget to use the turning cogs near the finishing line for a little extra speed. Do make sure they're turning in the right direction though!

Toad's Turnpike shortcuts

  • Shortcuts are much more unpredictable in Toad's Turnpike. You can use the ramped vehicles to take flight in your glider or get a little speed advantage. Alternatively, you can ride around the perimeter of the track using the anti-gravity sections - it's a longer route but a safer one.

Wario Stadium shortcuts

  • During the underwater section you'll notice a dark patch of dirt to the left of the main course. Activate a mushroom and zip directly through this sludgy stuff to save a little time.

Yoshi Valley shortcuts

  • You can cut out a big part of Yoshi Valley by taking the first two lefts, then speeding over the rundown wooden bridge.
  • To the left of the final corner is a ramp. Use a mushroom to speed over the grass, hit the ramp, and then take to the skies.

Mario Kart 8 shortcuts on DLC cups and courses

Yoshi Circuit GCN shortcuts

  • Watch out for a waterfall on your right, just after the first tight bend. Fire a mushroom to whizz through it and cut off a nice big chunk of tarmac!
  • As you approach the second half of the course you'll be able to mushroom blast your way across a big patch of grass with a Piranha Plant on it.
  • After a couple more turns, you should be able to see some tyres on your left. Use another mushroom to blast over this patch of turf.
  • You can perform a similar trick and cut through the tyres in the final bend, giving yourself a vital edge in the race to the finishing line!

Excitebike Arena

  • Use one of your mushrooms to avoid the jumps entirely, and burn your way along the right-hand strip of grass on the first straight. Make sure you get back on the ramp system just before your mushroom expires though.
  • You can make use of another mushroom to blast across the grass on the first corner, and save a little bit of time.
  • When you approach the speed ramp on the second straight, ignore it and instead fire up a mushroom to blast straight over the patch of grass to the right of it.

Dragon Driftway

  • Just after the winding tunnel section is a second corner that you can cut altogether. Look for the environmental object that bridges the two sections of road.
  • Alternatively, you can use a mushroom to blast over the patch of grass just beyond this shortcut. You'll struggle to pull off both manoeuvres though!
  • As you approach the second straight you can fire off a mushroom to blast through the grass and shave just a little bit extra off your lap time.

Mute City

  • Use the speed ramps at the sharp apex of this course to cut off some of the worst parts of this twisty section.
  • As you leave this upper part of the course map, look for the two towers that become visible on your right. Steer off the course sharply and aim towards them to hit a couple of ramps that help you cut out a massive chunk of the course.
  • The first drop of DLC for Mario Kart 8 contains plenty more shortcuts and secrets.

Wario's Goldmine

  • As you approach the sharp turn at the top left of this course map, keep your eyes peeled for a railing on your left. Stick close to it and drop down off the main track to get a useful shortcut onto a speed ramp.
  • Watch where the road forks at the bottom of the course, take the lower route, then use a mushroom to leap over the gap that leads directly to the finishing line.

Rainbow Road

  • At the first part of the S-bend in the bottom right part of the course, keep your eyes peeled for a ramp that can be used to slice off a right-angled turn.
  • Before the final turn is a split section of road. Rather than picking one side or the other, simply use the speed ramp in-between the two to launch over the crevasse.

Ice Ice Outpost

  • As you turn the corner into the second half of the course, you should be able to spot a ramp over to your right.
  • When you land after the shortcut above, look for a gap between the fence right in front of you. Drive through it to drop down a little and come to a handy ramp.
  • Look out for the icebergs on your right as you come around the final bend. You can hop across them to cut straight through to the finishing line.

Hyrule Circuit

  • Just before the hairpin turn at the top-left of the course is a patch of grass to your left. Go over it and use the ramp to whizz back onto the track.
  • After the shortcut above, use a mushroom to blast over the next section of grass right in front of your landing spot.
  • When you've finished the long turn in the castle, use the ramp between the fork in the road to fly across the room.
  • Just before the next tight turn, fire off one of your speed-boosting mushrooms to get across the patch of turf in front of you.

Baby Park

  • Despite this course being just an oval, you can cut the insides of each (read: both) corners with a Mushroom or other speed-boosting item, which will save you some time.

Cheese Land

  • The second corner has a 'cheese archway' you can boost through to cut out some of the track.
  • On the final approach on a lap, you'll start going down a hill, with a ramp off the course to the right. If you take it and glide over the canyon ahead, landing to the left of the course, you can take another ramp to the finish line.

Wild Woods

  • This is one of those courses where it's mostly boosts to cut the insides of corners than proper shortcuts, though there is an obvious ramp on the final corner you can cut into just before the finish line - just remember to hold left after the final ramp to make it.

Animal Crossing

  • Almost all 'shortcuts' here are cutting out existing corners with boosting items, the most notable of which is the final corner.

Neo Bowser City

  • On the final ramp where you glide over the finish line, you can go left and off the track, flying past it and onto a gust of air blowing upwards, propelling you up again and over the first corner of the lap.

Ribbon Road

  • In the blue section, you can leave the track before a wide corner to take a boost ramp so you can glide past a segment of the track.
  • Otherwise, the course has the usual selection of inside corners you can use a Mushroom or other fast item to shave off a few split seconds, as well as undulating roads that you can trick from for quick and easy speed boosts.

Super Bell Subway

  • The final corner of the track can be avoided by taking a speed boost through the grass to the left of the fountain.
  • Otherwise, you can boost from the top of trains if you time your landings correctly, as well as small bumpers on the track itself throughout the tunnels.

Big Blue

  • This is another course where you can cut the insides of some corners with a boost, such as the final bend just before the finish line.
  • The biggest cut is just after the second checkpoint, you can leap off the following right bend and into the circle goals above the ramp if you angle it right. It's very difficult, but mastering it will save you a good few seconds of time.

On the last page of our guide, we detail characters, weight classes and the best kart combinations.