I know I've seen a post about this before but a search didn't bring it up.
Which cabins don't have a 2+ night minimum?
What time of year?
Any time. Though I know it's probably easier to find in the off season.
I know many hotels/motels don't, but am looking for a cabin.
Outside of the peak summer and fall (elk rut and foliage) seasons and holidays, it is easier to find one night stays. Always call as many places will rent for one night outside of peak times even if the website says 2 night minimum. Many cabins (other than vrbo) will rent for one night between mid-October and early May. Even in summer or fall, call if your schedule is flexible as there can be one night stays that get sandwiched between other reservations. Here are some to check open year round and usually available for one night outside peak times.
Amberwood, Fall River Cabins, Streamside on Fall River, Rockmount Cottages, River Rock Cottages, McGregor Mountain Lodge, YMCA Cabins
Here are some possibilities on vrbo.
You can also post a lodging request. You will get some automated answers but this may help you find a one night stay even during busier times.
Add Annie's Mountain Retreat to the list. They do not have minimum stays except for certain holidays.
Mary's Lake Getaway is not a cabin but the large bottom floor separate apartment of a nice home and they do not require a minimum much of the year.
It does appear McGregor has reinstated 2 night minimums even in low season. As I said, call. If it is during the week or a slow weekend, places make exceptions.
Why do you say not usally VRBO?
I'm guessing because when the cleaning fee can easily be $100 or more , it just doesn't pay for them to rent one night.
I have not checked recently but the Estes Park CVB/Visitor Center used to keep a list of lodging places that allowed one night stays. You can call them.
I agree with you that the reason VRBO does not often rent for one night is the cleaning fee. I noted some properties on VRBO that have an additional cleaning fee if you do not stay the minimum number of nights. It just gets too costly for the cleaning and wear and tear on the properties to rent for one night especially at the lower rates already offered in "off" season. Of course in peak season, most places in Estes Park have a minimum stay because everything gets booked.Edited: 2:15 pm, January 28, 2014
The same reasoning applies to the 'regular' lodging businesses, too. Unless they have the resources of a chain hotel system, it is very difficult for these businesses to make a profit off one night stays when all factors are considered. Honestly, with my accumulated experience in the lodging business, if I owned a lodging business in Estes Park, I would only do one night stays in rare circumstances and have as long of a minimum night stay requirement as the market would support. I managed one property that only rented by the week. Another took advance bookings of only 5 nights for the summer and as the time neared we dropped the minimum to 3 nights. Others have had just 2 nights in the summer and no requirements in the winter. I can say without a doubt that the properties with the longer stay requirements were more profitable. And I also noticed the guests were overall a happier bunch. Imagine that . . . being 'forced' to spend more time in Estes Park produces happier people!