Have you looked at Stepables? They sell a bunch of non-grass ground covers for lawns, and might give you some ideas. They even have a search function where you can plug in your climate, what you want the ground cover for, etc. I don't know enough details to fill it out for you, but you could give it a try to see if any of those ideas sound good...and then buy the ground cover wherever you can get it cheapest!
What cover crop or grass lasts winter and Camano's scorching summers and are vivacious enough to withstand weed invasion?
You have not filled out your profile to give your location so I m not sure if the Camaho you mention is north of me on Puget Sound. If so in this area if you walk a path regularly it tends to self select the vegetation that can handle the traffic. Quackgrass forms a web of rhizomes under the surface and will come back with the September rains, it is also a good dew collector which helps keep it green in the dry summer. It will need to be mowed when it tries to send up a seed head. Generally you will have to mow a path at least once a year generally in April and then use it regularly to keep it from closing in. If your clover is not getting enough water to be alive this time of year then your summer path will probably be a carpet of dry grass that grows in in May.
Look into hard fescue or sheep fescue. It's a dark-green, extremely-fine-bladed grass that under dry conditions will only get a few inches tall. I had it in my yard in the desert, wonderful stuff that never needed mowing. Not sure how well it would hold up to high traffic, but if it gets even a little water it will fill in nicely and become plush rather than tall.
There are fine-bladed, low-growing varieties of Bermuda grass that are used on golf courses; might be another prospect. Bermuda does need a rotary mower if you ever plan to cut it.