EXP Farming in Pokémon Crystal (Best Grind Locations)

Walking in tall grass near Mt. Silver

The go-to place where most trainers farm experience in Pokémon Crystal is the Elite Four, thanks to their strong Pokémon and PokéDollar rewards.

That said, you don’t have to clear all of Johto to start farming EXP.

There are many other places to grind on the way to becoming a Pokémon Champion. We’ll examine some of the best spots and explain why they’re the best for each stage of the game.

Best EXP. Farming Locations

The best EXP. Farming location changes as your Pokémon level up.

We’re looking for:

  • Convenient locations close to Pokémon Centers
  • Wild Pokémon near your Pokémon’s level
  • Trainer Battles near your party’s level

Take a look at our picks for best grinding locations in the average playthrough:

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Best EXP. Farming Spots
Location Ideal Level Wild Pokémon Benefits
Sprout Tower & Union Cave 7+ Sprout Tower

  • Rattata
  • Gastly

Union Cave

  • Rattata
  • Zubat
  • Sandshrew
  • Onix
  • Close to Violet City.
  • Helps prepare for Gym Leader Falkner.
  • Wild Pokémon with weak moves.
  • Lots of weak trainers.
  • Water and Grass-type Pokémon will have an easy time at Union Cave.
Route 34 13+
  • Pidgey
  • Rattata
  • Jigglypuff
  • Abra
  • Drowzee
  • Ditto
  • Hoothoot
  • Snubbull
  • Close to Goldenrod City.
  • Helps prepare for Gym Leader Whitney.
  • Day Care is there, so you can train while hatching eggs.
  • Can catch Ditto!
Routes 38 & 39 16+
  • Pidgeotto
  • Rattata
  • Raticate
  • Meowth
  • Magnemite
  • Tauros
  • Noctowl
  • Miltank
  • Close to Ecruteak City.
  • Helps prepare for Gym Leader Morty.
  • Wild Pokémon yield high EXP.
  • Almost all Pokémon are Normal-type, so Fighting, Rock, Ice, Steel, and Dark-type Pokémon will have it easy.
Routes 40 & 41 22+ Route 40 (Surfing)

  • Tentacool
  • Tentacruel

Route 41 (Surfing)

  • Tentacool
  • Tentacruel
  • Mantine
  • Between Olivine City and Cianwood City.
  • Helps prepare for Gym Leaders Chuck and Jasmine.
  • Wild Pokémon yield high EXP.
  • All Pokémon are Water-type, so Grass and Electric-types will have it easy.
Route 45 25+
  • Geodude
  • Graveler
  • Gligar
  • Skarmory
  • Phanpy
  • Donphan
  • Close to Blackthorn City.
  • Helps prepare for Gym Leader Clair.
  • Wild Pokémon yield high EXP.
  • Powerful and rare Pokémon to catch.
Route 26 30+
  • Raticate
  • Arbok
  • Sandslash
  • Ponyta
  • Doduo
  • Noctowl
  • Quagsire
  • Helps prepare for the Elite Four.
  • Lots of strong trainers.
Victory Road 35+
  • Golbat
  • Graveler
  • Onix
  • Rhyhorn
  • Rhydon
  • Sandslash
  • Helps prepare for the Elite Four.
  • Close to the Indigo Plateau.
  • Most wild Pokémon are Rock and Ground-type, so Water and Grass-type Pokémon will have it easy.
  • Lots of powerful trainers.
Elite Four & Champion Lance 40+
  • None
  • You won’t lose EXP or money if you fail.
  • You restart right there at the Indigo Plateau’s Pokémon Center.
  • Always the same teams, so you can strategize.
  • You’ll make around 22,000 PokéDollars each time you clear it.
Mt. Silver & Silver Cave 45+ Mt. Silver (Outside)

  • Arbok
  • Poliwhirl
  • Doduo
  • Dodrio
  • Ponyta
  • Rapidash
  • Tangela

Silver Cave (All Areas)

  • Golbat
  • Golduck
  • Graveler
  • Onix
  • Parasect
  • Machoke
  • Magmar
  • Ursaring
  • Larvitar
  • Pupitar
  • Misdreavus
  • Helps prepare for Champion Red.
  • Super rare Pokémon to catch, only found here.
  • There’s a Pokémon Center at the base of Mt. Silver.
  • Highest-level EXP farming areas in the game.
Pokémon are found in the tall grass (or the darkness in caves) unless stated otherwise.

Tips for Better EXP. Farming

1. Battle Every Trainer (& Rematch)

One of the most important things to remember when farming experience is that Trainer Battles are always better than fighting Pokémon out in the wild.

Therefore, you should battle every trainer you see.

Battling Youngster Jimmy. / Pokémon Crystal
Battling Youngster Jimmy.

Remember to get their phone numbers to rematch them.

Tip: Get a trainer’s contact by talking to them again after defeating them in a Pokémon battle. Then wait for them to call you with a rematch challenge!

Getting Camper Todd’s phone number in Route 34. / Pokémon Crystal
Getting Camper Todd’s phone number in Route 34.

Trainer Pokémon become more powerful with each rematch. Some trainers will power up a single time, while others will improve their teams up to four times.

Trainers also increase the prize money you’ll earn with each rematch.

2. Get the EXP. Share ASAP

The EXP. Share is a held item that splits any incoming EXP in half and distributes it between the holder and whatever Pokémon got the EXP in the first place.

Example:

Suppose my Feraligatr beats a Dragonite and gets 200 EXP, but my Sandshrew holds the EXP. Share. In this case, both Feraligatr and Sandshrew would get 100 EXP.

This allows you to give new, low-level Pokémon in your party half the experience from high-level battles fought by your stronger Pokémon.

You can get the EXP. Share from Mr. Pokémon at his house in Route 30. He’ll trade it for a Red Scale, which you can get from the Gyarados at the Lake of Rage.

Receiving EXP. Share from Mr. Pokémon. / Pokémon Crystal
Receiving EXP. Share from Mr. Pokémon.

Tip: An EXP. Share is also a reward from the Lucky Number Radio Show.

3. Save Your Rare Candies For Higher Levels

When a Pokémon eats a Rare Candy, their EXP bar gets filled up, and they gain a level.

Pokémon level up faster at lower levels, so spending your few Rare Candies so early is a waste.

Different Rare Candy EXP yields at Level 10 and Level 40. / Pokémon Crystal
Different Rare Candy EXP yields at Level 10 and Level 40.

Instead, you should save them for later. What that means depends on your objectives.

If you just want to clear the game, saving some Rare Candies to help your party get to Level 50 to defeat the Elite Four can be a good idea.

But if you want to beat Champion Red on Mt. Silver or get your Pokémon to Level 100, I wouldn’t waste any Rare Candy until Level 80.

Duplication Glitch for EXP. Share & Rare Candy

Contrary to popular belief, duplicating items in Pokémon Crystal is possible, just like in Pokémon Gold and Silver. It’s just a little bit harder to pull off.

You need to:

  1. Make a Pokémon in your party hold the item you want to duplicate.
  2. Deposit that Pokémon into a box in Bill’s PC.
  3. From the PC menu, change boxes. The game will attempt to save.
  4. Turn off the power or yank the cartridge just as the words “Saving… Don’t turn off the power.” finish rendering.

If you do this correctly, your Pokémon will be duplicated. The original will remain in your party, while the copy will be in the box you put it in.

The screenshot shows the exact moment to turn off the power. / Pokémon Crystal
The screenshot shows the exact moment to turn off the power.

This can be done with multiple Pokémon, allowing you to duplicate several items simultaneously.

Do this with the EXP. Share a few times, and you’ll have enough for everyone in your party! You’ll be able to train them all at the same time if you want to.

Note: 50% of the EXP goes to the Pokémon that fought in the battle, while the other 50% is evenly split among all EXP. Share holders.

Another fantastic idea, if you don’t mind cheating a little, is to duplicate Rare Candies.

If you give five Pokémon in your party a Rare Candy to hold before depositing them all in Bill’s PC, you could copy five at a time.

If you learn how to do it correctly, this could solve all of your leveling problems. It’s excellent to help train a high-enough level team to take on Red’s team (Level 80+).

Note: Duplicate Pokémon and Items at your own risk. It’s unusual, but you could lose your Pokémon, the items, and even lose access to one of the Boxes in Bill’s PC.

Nelson Chitty

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Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.

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