Shortcuts have been an integral part of the Mario Kart franchise since the very beginning, but as the series has progressed, the shortcuts have become less pronounced. In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you aren’t going to find any ridiculous paths that seriously cut down the length of a track, but there are still plenty of less-traveled points of interest to help you reach the finish line ahead of the competition.
This shortcut guide is in alphabetical order by track name and shows all of the prominent shortcuts across the game’s 48 tracks. Naturally, you can cut corners and use a mushroom to go off-road and create additional, situational shortcuts. With many tracks featuring multiple routes, you should always test out new openings to see which ones work for you.
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Bone Dry Dunes
Perform a stunt while going off the sand geyser to reach the wooden path that runs along the top of the cave.
1. Coming out of the first wide turn, you’ll see a cheese dome off the track to your right. Boost through the opening to skip the wide bend.
2. The second Cheese Land shortcut is off the track during the latter, downhill portion of the race. In order to reach the ramp with enough speed to use the launch pad, you’ll have to build up either an ultra mini turbo drift boost — i.e., you need pink sparks — or use a mushroom. If successful, you can fly over the canyon.
3. After landing the second shortcut, drive through stacks of cheese blocks along the left side to uncover another hidden ramp.
Drift onto the giant leaf before the last turn, hop onto the second, and use a stunt boost to dash across the finish line in style.
1. Instead of continuing under the shelter of leaves, veer left with the wooden path to ride across — and receive a boost from — a fallen statue.
2. Right before the final turn, hop onto the detached path with a drift to shave a few seconds off your time. You can also perform a stunt at the incline at the end of the path.
In the section with pipes, drive over the pipe farthest to the right to enter a partially-concealed cave that has the most direct path to the next section of the course.
Donut Plains 3
Coming out of the sharpest turn in the track, skip the bend on the right by using a boost to blast through the gap in the blocks.
With a mushroom, you can zip across a strip of grass to skip a few curves.
1. After the first, slight left turn, there’s a ramp in the grass. Use a boost to skip a portion of the track, and perform a stunt when launching from it to save some additional time.
2. If you drift and hit all three diamond-shaped nodes as you’re entering the Temple of Time, you will hear a classic chime from The Legend of Zelda. A ramp will then materialize in front of the Master Sword, allowing you to jump straight through it rather than going around on either side.
Ice Ice Outpost
1. Right before you are about to turn out of the cavern, use the two ramps to skip the turn. Make sure to use stunt boosts off both of them. You should land in the direction of two additional, hidden ramps located off the side of the track.
2. You can skip the final turn by jumping off a separate pair of ramps. Again, stunt boosts or mushrooms are important here.
1. Coming out of the two winding turns after the second gap in the track, use the ramp located off the right side of the track behind three trees. You’ll need a mushroom to take advantage of this one.
2. There’s a pit stop directly to the right near the finish line, and if you go into it, there’s a boost pad coming that will send you zipping past the finish line. It may only be wise to use this one during laps one and two, though, as the boost really only helps if the race isn’t over yet.
Mario Kart Stadium
In between the two huge loops, there’s a ramp in the grass just before the Mario Kart Stadium sign. You can approach it head on with a mushroom, or come at it from an angle with a drift boost.
1. At the end of lap one, use a drift boost before the final turn to hop across the open air, skipping the turn entirely.
2. In the dense forest area of lap two, use a mushroom to cut through the trees and launch off a hidden ramp.
Right before the last turn, hop onto the drum and skip the bend. Remember, you can get a stunt boost since the drum acts as a springboard.
As you’re coming out of the tunnel during the final portion of the track, veer right to shorten your descent. You can use the first jump to land on a floating platform, and then perform a stunt boost to glide to the finish line.
Neo Bowser City
After flying off the ramp at the end of a lap, glide left off the track and into a wind current that allows you to skip the first portion of the second and third laps.
Piranha Plant Slide
If you have a mushroom, use it to propel yourself through the cardboard bush separating the white fence to skip the final turn.
Look for the Special Cup sign when descending and use a mushroom to fly toward it, skipping a sizable stretch of the multi-colored track.
Rainbow Road (SNES)
After the first three 90-degree turns, get ready to drift to the outer edge of the track. During the fourth turn, perform a stunt boost off the small ramp to trim a second or two from your time.
1. On the swaying ribbon part of the road, veer right before the turn to hop onto a pair of green and red blocks with a ramp that will shoot you over the saddle.
2. Right before the oversized kart replica, go off to your right to hit a series of wooden ramps leading to a blue boost ramp.
3. When you land after gliding from the blue boost ramp, you can skip the final turn by going under one of two ribbons. Use either a mushroom or a drift boost to make it across without slowing down.
Use a mushroom on the left side of the grass to launch off this boost ramp. Perform a stunt to get an extra boost that will carry you to the next sharp turn.
Shy Guy Falls
1. When gliding down after the waterfall ramp, pull upward to maintain your altitude and land in the upper portion of the tunnel.
2. Upon exiting the tunnel, look for a pair of horn-shaped rocks to your right, and use a mushroom to boost across the surface and off the hidden ramp.
1. Right after the second gap in the road, use a mushroom to cut the corner by bouncing off a grass platform in the water.
2. During the final turn, use a drift boost or mushroom to skirt through the baggage claim. Make sure to avoid the rotating boxes on the conveyor belt.
Sweet Sweet Canyon
Skip the final turn by using a mushroom or drift boost to go through the donut. It’s best to do this as close to the bottom of the dip as possible to better angle yourself for the finish line. Otherwise, drift as you’re passing under the arch to avoid hitting the wall.
1. If you have a mushroom after the first or second turn, use it to drive through the gap in the ruins to the left instead of taking the first turn again. You can perform a stunt and glide until you reach the tunnel, off of the large ramp.
2. Skip the last turn by hopping onto the uneven platform, and perform a stunt boost as you launch from it.
1. You can bypass the first clock by riding across the minute hand and vaulting off the center of it with a stunt boost.
2. Like the first large clock, skip the final turn by riding across the minute hand.
Right before the bottom of the the straightaway, there’s an alleyway on the left that will allow you to bypass the lengthy bend.
1. Right after starting the race, use the anti-gravity ramp to ride along the fencing of the highway. There are boost pads throughout, and you’ll avoid traffic, too.
2. In the final stretch, ride up the anti-gravity ramp on the left side of the fence — you’ll end up shooting out near the finish line.
When the branching road comes back together as one right before the first turn, head through the gap in the bookshelves with a drift or mushroom boost.
Wario’s Gold Mine
1. Instead of following the arrow into the mineshaft, go straight to where the mine carts appear to drop off. You’ll enter a separate, less-traveled tunnel that is a bit quicker and primes you for the last turn.
2. You can skip the final turn by using a mushroom or drift boost to vault over the inclined safety railing.
The last part of the Water Park is when things begin to get tricky, as you encounter sharp right to left turns. With a boost, you can skip the first half of the turn by going through the Aqua Cups carousel. If you can drift for some of this final part, you’ll be able to grab one last boost before you cross the finish line.
When making your way down the wooden planks toward the finish line, go straight onto the grassy platform to skip a portion of the final stretch. Then, use the ramp and a stunt boost to quickly reach the finish line.
Once you’ve made it through that icy first turn, you should be able to use a mushroom to skip those next two turns, and jump through the waterfall.
You can cut the final two corners of the race by using a mushroom or an ultra mini turbo drift boost — i.e., pink sparks — to vault off the ramp located at the edge of the grass.