I usually use wood chips, as well, for the paths going from the house to the barn, greenhouse, poultry yard, etc. Since I live in a fairly dry area, I don't usually have to keep them covered all year, but when it does rain, it usually happens over several days, which makes the ground waterlogged & muddy.
Sometimes, if the mud is especially deep, I will lay a paper feed sack down, first, and then cover with the chips. This just helps keep them from getting pushed down under the surface, so I don't have to use more to re-cover the surface. If the weeds/grass gets too tall that I can't see the path well enough to see any copperheads napping, I will chop/pull them and add to the surface of the path.
In the gardens I tried alfalfa in the paths, which has worked well as long as it hasn't gotten too tall (then it gets your pant legs wet). If that happens, I just cut/tear the top of the plant off & toss in the garden beds where the mulch is getting thin. It seems to grow back pretty fast if it's been getting enough rain.
Another vote for woodchips if you have a free source.
My parents had a source of hazelnut shells for a while, they were fantastic path material. Unless you like to be barefoot on your paths.
'Theoretically this level of creeping Orwellian dynamics should ramp up our awareness, but what happens instead is that each alert becomes less and less effective because we're incredibly stupid.' - Jerry Holkins