An alternative to using mapped directories or UNC paths is to use symlinks.
NTFS symbolic links (symlinks) can refer to a UNC path but differ from shortcuts in that there is no redirect to the requested location. If you create a symlink as the following...
mklink /D C:\myLink \\127.0.0.1\c$
... then when you open
C:\myLink the address of the folder you are in will be
C:\myLink and not
\\127.0.0.1\c$, which is what you would get if myLink was a shortcut and not a symlink. This is significant if your application has compatibility issues with UNC paths.
Additionally the symlink exists in the filesystem and does not need to be recreated after logon as your average mapped drive requires (generally automated) and is therefore available to Windows services.