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Best Mario Kart Tracks

The Mario Kart series has countless fantastic fan-favorite tracks. Whether you’re driving on serene beaches, piloting through booby trapped castles, or racing through a crowded stadium, there’s been ample variety from gimmicks to hairpin curves for racers in each entry in the series. With well over 200 tracks over the course of the series, it’s hard to narrow down which raceways are the best in the series. Nonetheless, here is a subjective list of the best Mario Kart tracks.

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Waluigi Pinball: Originally from Mario Kart DS

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be shot through a pinball machine? Waluigi Pinball delivers the answer as racers will be launched through a neon realm of arcadey beeps and buzzes, all while dodging bumpers and giant steel spheres. The track’s pacing is nearly perfect, with competitors blasting off through a huge tunnel, then following the natural flow of the table through curving elevated pathways, and finishing in a crowded straightaway down the table past the flippers to the finish line. It’s filled with fun gimmicks, vibrant colors, and some great road design.

Koopa Troopa Beach: Originally from Nintendo 64

For its cool steel drum soundtrack and calming “day at the shore” vibes, Koopa Troopa Beach offers players a lot of tough yet exciting decisions. With a number of risky jumps like the path through the mountain or the item box atop the seaside boulder, races can be made with a properly used Mushroom or broken with poorly aligned ramp launch. Players can also flirt with the dangers of getting dragged out to sea by hugging the water when the tide goes out, making for some exciting chances to make up ground or fall further behind. The good news is that, even if you finish last, it’s still always a refreshing summery drive.

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Maple Treeway: Originally from Mario Kart 7

One of the most quintessentially fall-themed levels in gaming, Maple Treeway weaves in and out of autumn leaves and red-and-yellow tree trunks. There are plenty of exciting jumps and some branching paths near the course’s end, and the level’s emphasis on climbing up trees through circling the driftable raceway provides a great chance to get some mini boosts to sneak past some of the competition. Just don’t let the beautiful foliage distract you from how fast this track can be!

Mount Wario: Originally from Mario Kart 8

While Mario Kart 7 introduced the concept of the three-stage course, Mount Wario is the best iteration of the style. The track begins at a mountaintop where players jump from the hangar of a helicopter and start their journey down the icy peak. The second leg of the course has racers gliding past stalactites, driving on the side of a dam, and navigating a forest. And finally, for the race’s third stage, drivers will go off a series of bunny slopes and small hills, culminating in a giant ski jump towards the finale. While all three of these sections are incredible on their own, the way the stage weaves these segments together is what creates one of the best experiences in the series.

Royal Raceway: Originally from Mario Kart 64

It’s a bit of a bummer that the levels named after the Mushroom Kingdom’s titular heroes like Mario and Luigi tend to be a bit bland, but Peach’s Royal Raceway is an exception to the rule. The course starts out next to a river with some intense curves, until the track turns towards the inland and takes drivers off one of the biggest jumps in the series. This jump is made only more impressive in the Mario Kart 8 version with a series of hot air balloons manned by Toads, but very few things beat the original version from N64, which allowed players to go off course and explore the castle grounds. Sure, it wasn’t part of the race, but it was a brilliant Easter egg and the type of wild world-building that the series hasn’t recreated since.

DK Mountain Mario Kart Double Dash best mario kart tracks

DK Mountain: Originally from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

The crown jewel of DK Mountain is its large gimmicky barrel cannon that blasts drivers to the peak of a nearby summit. However, the ride down can be a delightfully difficult series of hard turns around cliff edges that also presents some great opportunities to really mess with other drivers if you have the right items. The wobbly bridge near the end of the lap can be dicey to navigate, especially when players start leaving banana peels on it, making for a thrilling rush to the finish line. Add in the fun bongo jungle beats, and this is a must-play any time you break out your GameCube.

Airship Fortress: Originally from Mario Kart DS

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to drive go-karts in the middle of an airborne battle? Airship Fortress puts players in this exact scenario, having them careen through flying ships and out of crumbling castle bulwarks, all while navigating around Bullet Bills, Monty Moles, and other carnage of battle. Despite the ferocious war raging all around the players though, Airship Fortress is a surprisingly straightforward course with a few straightaways paired with winding paths up and down the castle towers. Luckily, that leaves plenty of open space to appreciate the spectacle happening in the background.

Baby Park: Originally from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

You knew this simple oval of absolute insanity would make the list. Baby Park is a never-ending loop of instability where bombs, shells, and banana peels inflict tons of chaos, sometimes even poaching enemies on the other side of the stage’s single barrier. The bombastic and constantly speeding-up level theme only adds to the ever-growing unhinged goofiness of a course that’s so short, and even though the course has eight total laps unlike the usual three, racing at Baby Park feels like a rush that leaves players wanting more. Luckily, you can hop right back on this merry-go-round of madness to keep the fun rolling.

best mario kart tracks mute city 8

Mute City: Originally from Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8 gave Captain Falcon fans a reason to cheer with the introduction of the Blue Falcon as a car, as well as two unique F-Zero courses. And while Big Blue is an impressive three-part course, Mute City’s music, aesthetic, and track all are caked in nostalgia and spectacular level design. Whether you’re grabbing coins from the healing barriers on the side of the track or hitting multiple boost pads in a row, you’ll be wondering why Nintendo so rarely releases F-Zero games. At least we have this terrific track to remind us of the good times.

Rainbow Road 7: Originally from Mario Kart 7

Frankly, each iteration of Rainbow Road could’ve made it onto this list, whether you’re revisiting the iconic music from the N64 version, racing on the tougher dual-road version from Mario Kart 8, or revisiting the hairpin nostalgia of the SNES version. But Rainbow Road from Mario Kart 7 is one of the most wildly creative, blending elements from previous versions and also adding in a three-stage element across a solar system of cratered planets and space jumps that places it at the top of the best Mario Kart tracks list.

That’s what we think are the best Mario Kart tracks, but we want to hear what your favorite tracks are in the comments!


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Author
Jeff Levene
Jeff Levene is an avid lover and writer of games, film, and theatre, who plays a little too much DnD in their free time. You can follow them on Twitter at @jefflevene498