Mario Kart is amazing, but if you’re only racing your friends, you’re missing out on one of the best parts of the game: searching for shortcuts.
Don’t tell me you haven’t spent hours driving backward on a course just to find a way to save a few seconds. We’ve all tried it before.
The shortcut world is a fun one, but it takes a lot of course-searching, research, and practice. We recommend watching lots of YouTube videos, especially to conquer some of the difficult ones.
Becoming a pro shortcutter is tough, but it’s totally worth it. Just imagine how everyone’s jaws will drop when you do something insane. Dream up how great it will be to cut down your race time by a few seconds and end up in first. What about those time trials? You’ll be able to ace them whenever you feel like it!
If you want to be a total Mario Kart show-off, this list is for you. Check those obvious shortcuts off your list and learn to attempt some of the craziest, most secret ones in all of Mario Kart history. It all sounds totally cool, right?
There are lots of Mario Kart games to master (eight, in fact) so you better get started now. There’s a lot to learn, but you’ll have lots of time to learn it. We hope so, at least.
Mario Kart 9 races into stores soon, so you better become a shortcut master for all the current games first.
Are you ready to race to the finish line with us? Let’s get started!
30 Secret: Mario Kart 64: Rainbow Road
This insane shortcut is fun to attempt but too risky to save you time. Shortly after passing the third yellow line, bounce yourself off the edge and fly toward the left. If you can land on the road below you, you’ve successfully saved yourself from a good portion of the course. The best way to do this one is to watch loads of YouTube videos online. It’s pretty tricky, but you’ll feel accomplished. Just imagine how great your time trial runs will be if you can master this one!
29 Useful: Mario Kart: Double Dash: DK Mountain
This shortcut is relatively low-risk and will save you a few seconds on every lap.
Shortly after getting down the gray, rocky part of the mountain, you’ll find yourself making a sharp U-turn on a dirt path. Right after you make that turn, you’ll find there’s another similarly shaped one just ahead. Rather than taking it, gain some momentum by curving left and forcing your car right to jump over the abyss. It takes some practice, but it’s not hard to get the hang of.
28 Secret: Mario Kart Wii: Grumble Volcano
This shortcut is insanely helpful, but it’s also a major cheat! Because of this, we’re dragging it into the secret shortcut category. We’re guessing you wouldn’t have ever found this one on your own.
To skip the entire track, shoot yourself onto rocks directly left of the finish line.
Circle around and behind them, and it won’t take long for the second-lap sign to pop up.
This glitch was patched in Mario Kart 8, but it’s probably for the best. What’s the point in skipping the entire track? It may be cool, but is it fun? That’s for you to decide.
27 Useful: Mario Kart Wii: DK Summit
As it turns out, there’s more than one Donkey Kong course shortcut that will help you speed through the race. After passing through the section filled with mini hills, you’ll see a gap toward your left. If you turn sharp enough, you can jump it. If you keep up your speed and make a slight tilt in the opposite direction, you can jump the abyss directly after it, too. You’ll be laughing as you speed past the racers behind you. Just don’t fall in!
26 Secret: Mario Kart 64: Frappe Snowland
Did you know its possible to skip laps on this one? Turn around and go toward the bridge. Then, turn back around in the right direction and head toward the right corner. Jump as you approach it and position yourself toward the ridge in the snow. It might sound complicated, but if you get it right, Lakitu will fish you out and the game will believe you went an extra lap you clearly didn’t. How neat is that?
25 Useful: Mario Kart: Double Dash: Yoshi Circuit
While sometimes fans discover shortcuts accidentally, creators occasionally put them in on purpose. The latter of the two is the case with this course.
Shortly after passing a red Yoshi sign that’s on your right, use a mushroom to boost yourself off the edge into a square-shaped hole that perfectly fits your car. It won’t save you much time, but you will avoid other racers this way.
Early on in the course, you can also use a mushroom to jump over some water if you go straight rather than left
This shortcut actually will help you stay in the lead.
24 Secret: Mario Kart Wii: GBA Bowser Castle 3
In this course, there’s a section filled with yellow bouncy speed boosts. On the platform containing the second to the last one (or very last one), point your car toward the left corner. If you aim very carefully and get enough speed, you’ll be able to skip a decently-lengthened section of track.
We recommend practicing this one a few times, but it’s very doable.
Try using a mushroom if you’re having trouble. Having an item might make it less complicated when you’re actually in a race and not just messing around with the jump.
23 Useful: Mario Kart Wii: Mushroom Gorge
Toward the end of the Mushroom Gorge track, you’ll find a giant U-shaped turn that will take you right to the finish line. Rather than taking this dirt turn, make sure you have a mushroom in hand and go sharply toward the left. If you can position yourself right, you’ll be able to boost yourself over the giant abyss before you. It’ll keep you from running into any Goombas and save you some seconds, so go for it if you have the right items!
22 Secret: Mario Kart Wii: Bowser’s Castle
This major glitch will help you rule out all your opponents. At the fork in the road by the giant Bowser that spits out fireballs, choose the right path. When you reach the glowing speed boost, turn sharply right and up the corner of it. If you aim correctly, you’ll be pushed to an upper level and will be able to skip a giant loop in the course. The best part is that you don’t even need a mushroom!
21 Useful: Mario Kart Wii: Wario’s Goldmine
This shortcut isn’t hard to find, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t be taking it. We’re here to remind you that yes, it is always worth it.
Follow after the gold karts rather than shooting by them.
You'll save a lot of time jumping onto the left track rather than following the arrows to the right.
As long as you don’t hit the gold karts, you’ll be in good shape. There are even some colorful speed boosts to help you along!
20 Secret: Mario Kart 64: Wario Stadium
One of the craziest shortcuts in the entire Mario Kart franchise allows you to skip almost the entire course. So technically it’s pretty secret and helpful.
Soon after you start the course, take a quick left and jump the wall. If you continue in a loop and time it right, you can jump the wall again making your lap take only a sweet 10 seconds.
This glitch takes a little practice, but it is totally worth it. Try it on a time trial before you’re racing your friends!
19 Useful: Mario Kart DS: Delfino Square
If you’ve never jumped the dock on Delfino Square, now is the time you should start. After weaving through the building, turn left and use a mushroom to boost yourself on to the dock below. You’ll get an item and cut down your seconds.
Alternatively, make a right into the hidden alleyway soon after the buildings. A mushroom will help you skid over the dirt pathway with ease. Both of these shortcuts are worth it in the end.
18 Secret: Mario Kart 64: Kalimari Desert
Kalimari Desert is swimming with shortcuts, but it’ll take a few items to make them work. Watch a few videos to learn all the secrets.
The best shortcut on this course requires a star. Once you get one, turn left into the train tunnel. After you’re all the way in, turn around and use the star to get out. The game will automatically believe you’ve completed a lap.
What’s nice about this shortcut is that you won’t run into the risk of falling off a cliff.
At the very worst, you’ll be hit by a train. It’s all good.
17 Useful: Mario Kart: Super Circuit: Sky Garden
The game makers created an easy way for you to save some time, and all it requires is a mushroom. Right after the track begins, turn left like always. Rather than following the path though, keep going straight toward the yellow jump pad. Use it in combination with a mushroom, and you should be able to fly to the other side.
There are other jump pads later in this course that you will also be able to use, especially if you keep some mushrooms on hand.
16 Secret: Mario Kart: Double Dash: Waluigi Stadium
Did you know you can actually jump to the finish line with one careful turn?
After the section with the Piranha plants, drift up the left wall and get yourself up in the air! If you do it correctly, the game will become tricked into thinking you fell off the final ramp before the finish line. Lakitu will put you back where he thought you came from, and all you have to do is finish the lap.
15 Useful: Mario Kart 7: Daisy Hills
There’s a hidden pathway in this course. Partway through the track, it’ll seem that you should continue up the wooden ramp filled with power boosts.
Pro tip: don’t.
Instead, cut into the daisies on the left. There’s a narrow pathway filled with its own power boosts. It’s lots of fun and it’ll help you avoid some other racers. Just watch out for the windmills as you attempt to land. Do that, and you’ll be fine.
14 Secret: Mario Kart: Super Circuit: Cheese Land
Want to complete a time trial in five seconds? We thought so!
Immediately after beginning Cheese Land, you’re going to want to run yourself in a clockwise circle.
As you come back toward the finish, speed into the mouse. And guess what – you’re done! How crazy is that?
It’s certainly not as fun to skip the entire race, but it is fun to see a freakishly low time. It’s insane that it actually works.
13 Useful: Mario Kart 8: Shy Guy Falls
There’s an alternate path on Shy Guy Falls that you ought to be taking. Around approximately 40 seconds in, there’s a dirt pathway that curves around the edge of a cliff. Rather than following it, go straight into the grass and have a mushroom ready. There’s a ramp that will allow you to skip the giant curved pathway you would normally have to take.
Mushroom shortcuts might seem simple, but the time taking them saves does add up.
12 Secret: Mario Kart 7: Wuhu Loop
If you do it right, you can fall off this course twice and be placed farther along the track.
For the first shortcut, which is near the end of the second section, locate the giant tree on your right. Go toward the left of it and boost yourself into the water. This will allow you to instantly be placed in the third section.
Soon after, you’ll see the lighthouse. Go toward the power boost right before it and drive onto it vertically, which will shoot you directly into the water. Do it correctly, and you’ll be right at the finish line.
11 Useful: Mario Kart Wii: Maple Treeway
Right after the finish line, go right onto the alternate path. You’ll get an item and a couple speed boosts. This shortcut is especially helpful if you have a mushroom. Whether it’ll save you time otherwise is debatable.
If you really want to save time, try out the glitch shortcut.
It’s pretty complicated, so you’ll have to watch some videos, but it essentially allows you to skip a good portion of the course as long as you do some careful aiming with the help of a few mushrooms.
10 Secret: Mario Kart 64: Yoshi Valley
If you’re down for another glitch shortcut, this one’s ready for you. After beginning the course, make a sharp turn left and off the edge. Lakitu will help you out and the game will believe that you’ve completed a lap. It’s that easy.
If you’d rather race most of the course, learn to jump the loop before the egg.
It’ll save you from a wild turn and help you finish faster. You’ve got enough pathways to deal with on this course as it is.
9 Useful: Mario Kart 8: Mount Wario
Mount Wario offers a relatively simple shortcut that will shave a few seconds off your final time. There’s a path tucked away in the forest that will be easy to take if you have a mushroom. It’ll lead you right to a rainbow boost, allowing you to skip over all the twists and turns of the regular path.
Fairly early on in the course, you can also skip over a giant right turn by jumping the edge correctly. While a mushroom isn’t required, it helps.
8 Secret: Mario Kart 64: Royal Raceway
Just like on Yoshi Valley and Wuhu Loop, a few careful turns will have you fished out placed further along the course.
Early on, a quick turn into the water will have you placed in front of the yellow and red booster later in the course. Turning sharply left off that ramp will also put you farther along the course once again. While we recommend watching some videos to see the exact locations of these turns, they’re not difficult. Your race time will be phenomenal.
7 Useful: Super Mario Kart: Ghost Valley 1
There’s a simple way to cut your race time down to a minute in Ghost Valley 1.
This shortcut isn’t particularly hidden, but it’s off the main path.
After a yellow boost, keep driving straight to jump onto the thin wooden pathway in front of you. The difficulty is in making the sharp turn afterward, but with a little practice, it’ll be easy.
After all, there are far too many ghosts floating around in this course. You’re going to want to get out of there fast.
6 Secret: Mario Kart 64: DK Jungle Parkway
The internet is brimming with some crazy glitches for this course. Some people have had luck spinning out in the beginning and ending up with 10-second laps. Others have had luck drifting out by some arrows and jumping all the way down to the bridge over the water.
Try drifting through the grass on the right toward the beginning, and you might even be able to get up to the speed boost ramp very quickly. The possibilities are endless.
5 Useful: Mario Kart Wii: Coconut Mall
Who wants to go shopping? Us!
This shortcut may be simple, but it's also time-saving. Just make sure you have one of those handy mushrooms stored away!
After making it up to the second story of the mall, take a right and go forward and through the shop with a mushroom. While most people end up going off the ramp after the shop, stay close to the wall and follow the second-story path to save a little more time. The seconds count, guys!
4 Secret: Mario Kart Wii: Ghost Valley 2
If you position yourself with the pillar at the starting line on your right, you can jump a good portion of this course.
Do a Mini-Turbo in combination with a wheelie, and you’ll go flying.
Of course, to do a wheelie, you’ll have to be riding a bike rather than a kart.
After this, make sure you take the normal jump across the boardwalk. The race time will fly by as you finish out in the lead.
3 Useful: Mario Kart: Double Dash: Dino Dino Jungle
There are a few easy ways to cut down your time in this course. First, after emerging from the cave, head for the lesser-taken path on the right. It’s easy to fall off, but the speed boosts will push you up to the top real quick.
After getting into the second cave, head right instead of left. There’s a wooden ramp, and if you’ve got a mushroom you can blast past all those nasty geysers.
2 Secret: Mario Kart 64: Mario Raceway
There’s a part of this course early on that will be on your right, where the three brick walls connect. Use a mushroom to speed up and into them toward the Mario sign. If you’re using a light character, you should be able to float right through them and end up at the end of the track.
If you can’t tell by the multiple other entries, Mario Kart 64 likely has more secret shortcuts than any other game in the franchise!
1 Useful: Mario Kart 8: Thwomp Ruins
Shortly after the starting line, you’ll want to take a dive toward the left if you have a mushroom with you. There’s a wooden ramp that can send you flying, but skipping it and simply cutting through the grass will save you even more time.
There is a ramp you actually should take later by the Thwomps. It’s on your left and will help you easily skip a corner. This course is all about those smooth turns, so do your best to keep it up!