16 essential shortcuts in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

No mercy.

Originally Published: 

Classics never slow down. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has only gotten better in the years since its initial 2014 release for the Wii U, and the Switch version continues to hold strong in video game sales charts month after month. Whether you’re a Moo Moo Meadows newbie or a Rainbow Road master, shortcuts can help you shave precious seconds off of your time.

These secret routes can take you completely off the regular track — some of them require a boosting item to get through. Spotting and learning how to navigate these shortcuts can be the difference between getting first place and second place — and it’s a great way to infuriate your friends and family. Some of them are more difficult to find than others, but all of them are pretty darn useful.

Here are 16 need-to-know shortcuts in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

1. Thwomp Ruins

  • Near the end of the track, you should see a broken pillar to your left that you ride on to avoid the winding road. It’s narrow, so be careful. However, it can save you some valuable seconds during the race.

2. Toad Harbor

  • At the very beginning of the track, once you cross the first corner, there will be a ramp to your left. It’ll launch you straight onto the upper scaffolding and keep you away from the rest of the racers.
  • Once you reach the end of that scaffolding and get off, immediately to your right there’s a path that goes upwards.
  • Lastly, towards the end of the track, you’ll see a cable car. You’ll see a rather large opening to your left in between buildings. You can go through them to avoid the cable car.

3. Twisted Mansion

  • You’ll eventually see a path to your left open up, and you can bypass the entire corner by going through it.
  • Towards the end of the track, if you gather enough speed, you’ll be able to reach the top floor of the mansion after hitting a stunt boost.

4. Shy Guy Falls

  • After the big blue ramp, you’ll be able to glide to the upper portion of the canyon if you picked up enough speed.
  • After getting off said canyon, there’s a ramp to your right in between two devil horn-shaped stones that you can go through to avoid the normal, longer corner.

5. Dolphin Shoals

  • There’s a shortcut when you get to the area with the big pipes. Once you the very first pipe and float up, veer towards the left and you’ll float between a few other pipes before landing at the end of the section.

6. Mount Wario

  • Right before the first checkpoint, there’s a hidden ramp to your right that you can cross.
  • The track splits into two during the outdoor area. Instead of going to those, you can actually go straight towards the center to find a hidden path. However, make sure you have a boosting item like a mushroom to get past the snow so you don’t slow down.

7. Bone Dry Dunes

  • After the big blue ramp, if you have enough speed, you’ll be able to glide to the upper portion of the track if you veer towards the left.

8. GBA Mario Circuit

  • You’ll eventually see a blue ramp to the right, but make sure to bring at a double mushroom boost before attempting this shortcut. Use the first boost to overcome the grass, then while in the air, use a second boost to get even more airtime, letting you glide past a big chunk of the final track.

9. Cheep Cheep Beach (DS)

  • In the middle of a winding narrow sand road, you can make out a few coins underwater. This indicates shallow waters and you can actually drive through it.

10. Toad’s Turnpike (N64)

  • There’s a section right before an underpass tunnel where a big truck with boosting ramps appears. If you end up going on it right before the start of the tunnel, you can essentially skip the entire tunnel boosting and gliding over it.

11. Pirhana Plant Slide (3DS)

  • When you get to the portion with air blowing out from underneath the track, near the end there’s a platform high up that you can reach if you drive through the gust of wind coming underneath. That’ll float you up to the platform allowing you to skip over the large Pirhana plant chomping away.

12. Yoshi Circuit (GCN)

  • A little bit after the start of the track, you’ll come across a waterfall to your right. You can actually go through it! It’s a nifty shortcut that’ll let you avoid the upcoming curve.
  • But make sure to have a boost item, like a mushroom, otherwise the grass will slow you down before the ramp.

13. Wario’s Gold Mine

  • Right before you get into the tunnel with Wario’s picture plastered on the front, there’s a secret road to your left, indicated by the gap between the fence. There’s your shortcut!

14. Ice Ice Outpost

  • About halfway through the track, you’ll spot a small ramp to your right. Go on it and you’ll end up on the regular track again. However, continue straight and go off the track again as you’ll see a small gap in between the pillar of ice, leading you to another shortcut.

15. Koopa City (3DS)

  • Near the end of the track, you’ll come across a big blue ramp and start gliding. Instead of going straight, veer towards the left and go off track. You’ll eventually find a turbine engine that’ll blow air upwards, allowing you to skip a portion of the starting track.

16. Ribbon Road (GBA)

  • About halfway through the track, you’ll spot a green and red block off to your right. It has an orange ramp at the end of it. After launching off that ramp, you’ll end up on the track again, but you can actually see another green and orange block off to your right. Drive off track and onto that block to find a blue ramp that’ll allow you to glide towards the end of the track.

Master these shortcuts and you’ll be on your way to achieving first place in every race you play. On your marks, get set, and good luck!

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is available now for Nintendo Switch.

This article was originally published on

Related Tags